My role


Wellman needn't be hell man

One man's experience of visiting a 'Wellman' clinic

By Richard O'Neil, Executive member of the MHF and editor of the website

There comes a time when you have to practice what you preach. Here I am someone who works in the Men's Health field, someone who considers himself to be fit and healthy, but who hasn't had a check up for years. So I finally bit the bullet and booked an appointment at the Sunny Bank Well Man Clinic in Unsworth Bury.

It's a bit daunting setting off to one of these places, fear of the unknown I suppose. Within 10 minutes of sitting in the waiting room, I'm called through to a consulting room and a doctor, who could be any age from 50 to 70, starts to take down my medical history.

I start to see Dr Chakravorty as an MOT tester. First he asks me about my parents, both died prematurely so that makes my score go down, then he asks me about my health and fitness, I score quite well on these, so cheer up. But then he asks me about my alcohol drinking habits (I don't), and to touch my toes (which I do) and move my arms around. Dr C then takes my pulse; apparently I have the pulse of an athlete, I'm feeling good now, I'm definitely going to pass my MOT.

Then a female practice nurse (who is very nice) measures my height and weight, that's OK, then takes my blood pressure, slightly high, she is more concerned because of my pulse being so low and my general fitness being so good, my blood pressure should be lower. So I have to come back for blood tests and bring a urine sample. I make an appointment for two weeks hence.

I feel good that in spite of my family history my efforts to keep fit have paid off. I am concerned about the blood pressure though. I just wonder if it's because I've been very busy prior to the tests, maybe I'm more stressed than I think, so I make a decision to spend a bit more time on relaxation in the week before my next appointment.

I arrive at the clinic with my little urine sample, which is checked and is OK. There are a couple of other men there having various checks, which is good to see. I have a good chat with a 52 year-old called Roger who had been going regularly to the clinic for over six years, he said it gave him peace of mind. Dr C, takes a couple of blood samples, we disagree on the gentleness on the operation, but he takes it in good spirit. My urine checks out fine, I have to go back in a couple of weeks to find out the results of the blood tests and also to do a step fitness test and then I think I'm done.

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I arrive for what is my final appointment, I'm pleased to see three other men there, maybe the health message is getting through. I do my step test, which is exactly how it sounds, I step up and down for five minutes, my heart rate is taken before and after. This test is apparently used by the Fire and Ambulance to assess the fitness of their recruits. Any way, my blood test is OK and my cholesterol is very low, which is remarkable taking into account my family history. So it does show that with the right food and exercise you can change things for the better.

Trying to be Mr superfit I went to the clinic on my mountain bike, which just raised my heart rate and didn't give a true reading of my fitness. Well, that's my story and who wants to join the Fire or Ambulance service anyway?!

Was it worth it?

So after all those weeks and tests and waiting, was it worth it? Definitely, I know where I am health-wise and what I want to do now is maintain my current health level or even improve it. I can check on my progress at any time because the clinic now has all my details on record. The peace of mind is worth all the worry before and during.

If you have any doubts about going to such a clinic, think about the Man of 34 in my area who is going to die of cancer because he ignored pain and swelling in his testicle until he developed secondary cancer. Your health is the most important thing you have, get down to the clinic and get it checked, it's even free.

Wellman clinics

My local clinic has been open since 1991. Run by Kath Whittles the nurse, Anne Hamilton the secretary and Dr Chackravorty and is only one of four dedicated Well Man clinics in the country contact them on 0161 724 6911 (day time) or 0161 766 5880 (evenings) . There are however a growing number of GP practices who do a similar type of thing. I'm afraid you'll have to track them down. If you do find one in your area let us know and we'll put it on the site.

Richard O'Neill can be contacted by sending an email to His website is at:



Page created on February 1st, 2001

Page updated on December 1st, 2009