Guernsey Press

Chest and Heart wants to see more under-50s getting screened

Encouraging more people under 50 to be screened is the aim of the new manager of Guernsey Chest and Heart.

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Caroline Ogier recently took over as manager of Guernsey Chest and Heart. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33069402)

Caroline Ogier trained as a nurse, starting her career on Arnold Ward at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, and then worked in the coronary care unit.

She also worked at a cardiothoracic centre in the UK and in critical care in Saudi Arabia.

On her return to Guernsey, she lectured at the Institute of Health and Social Care Studies, rising to the position of senior lecturer, teaching on post-graduate courses and writing Masters programmes.

After a period helping her partner set up a business, she wanted to keep hold of her nursing registration and initially looked for a voluntary post, before taking on a few hours a week at Chest and Heart in May last year. By December, she had become deputy manager.

‘It’s been a bit of a whirlwind but it’s a really good challenge,’ said Miss Ogier.

‘It’s an exciting time to join Chest and Heart because it’s our 50th anniversary in November.’

The occasion will be marked with an event at Government House, which will be followed by a year-long campaign to raise the profile of the charity, as well as funds. ‘People often think we are part of the health service because we are situated at the Oberlands on the PEH site. The charity is fully funded through donations.’

Chest and Heart opened in its present location in 1974. The building was refurbished in 2019.

It is currently fully subscribed with clients, but Miss Ogier hoped that number would increase, along with the number of staff.

‘At the moment, it’s a little over £100,000 a year to run the centre.

‘Optimistically, with this being our 50th year and having a slightly higher profile, we’ll be able to raise awareness, raise more funds and increase the service.’

It will also try to attract younger people to use its services. It screens anyone aged between 25 and 75 but most of its clients are over 50.

‘We’d really like to increase the number of younger people coming through our doors. Lots of people think you have to wait until you’re older and you start having health problems. If you’re younger, fitter and healthier, you don’t necessarily think about monitoring your risk as you go through your life.

‘But we screen every five years. If you’re 25 and you come and see us, and again when you’re 30, you can see if there’s a difference in how your lifestyle is impacting on your health and wellbeing.’