Digital weight management programme launched for HSC staff


A new 12-week weight management programme for Health and Social Care (HSC) staff is being launched this week.

The new system – Florence or ‘Flo’, developed by Simple Shared Healthcare a NHS member organisation, is named after Florence Nightingale and is designed to be easily accessible for busy HSC staff. The self-directed programme offers staff the opportunity to lose weight safely and gradually with support.

The Flo pathway for weight management was developed by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Public Health Dietitians Group from across the health trusts. In Northern Ireland, the Flo programme is commissioned and funded by PHA.

Penny Hobson, Programme Manager, Centre for Connected Health and Social Care at the PHA, said: “Flo will help staff to manage their own health and wellbeing better by using SMS text messages to and from their mobile phone. Participants will receive motivational and support messages, reminders to submit health information such as weight and blood pressure and will get advice on their health.”

Colette Brolly, the PHA’s Joint lead on Obesity Prevention said: “The new programme offers staff the opportunity to access the weight management programme in their own time and in their own home so staff can be supported at any time they need.

“We want to enable staff to make healthier choices. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and some cancers and we want to encourage and motivate those who wish to improve their health and wellbeing.”

Jennifer McBratney, from the South Eastern Trust is Chair of the Public Health Dietitians Group, and said: “As restrictions have gradually eased, this is the ideal opportunity for staff to get involved in a weight management programme and improve their fitness. We already know there is an interest amongst the workforce for this type of programme and almost 2,000 staff indicated pre-launch that they would like to take part.”

Those signing up to the programme must be HSCNI staff, be overweight, be over the age of 18 and must consult a GP before starting if they have a medical condition.

Further information for staff on signing up to Flo is available on Trust intranet sites.