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Farm Families Health Checks celebrates 10 years of success


Pictured (L-R): Helen McAuley - Senior Farm Families Nurse, Aidan Dawson - CE Public Health Agency (PHA), Jennifer Welsh - CE Northern Health Social Care Trust ( NHSCT), Doreen Bolton - Locality Lead Mid Ulster area, Ciaran McLaughlin - Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Diane McIntyre - Senior Manager, Health Improvement (PHA) Christina Faulkner - Farm families Health Checks Co-ordinator (NHSCT).


The Farm Families Health Check Programme is celebrating its 10th birthday this week having helped more than 21,600 people in its decade of success.

 

The initiative is a one-stop mobile health clinic that visits farmers’ marts and local community settings offering free health assessments and advice tailored specifically for the farming community.

 

The Farm Families Health Checks Programme is funded through the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme and the Public Health Agency (PHA) and delivered by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

 


It offers on-the-spot blood pressure monitoring, Body Mass Index (BMI) assessment, cholesterol check and diabetic screening. The service also provides individual lifestyle advice on a range of health issues and onward referral to local support services where required.

 

Aidan Dawson, Chief Executive of the PHA, said:


“The success of the Farm Families Health Checks Programme has shown how an innovation like this can help tackle health inequalities by designing a service that is easily accessible.

 


“Farmers and their families work long hours and can face greater social isolation which often has an impact on their physical and mental wellbeing. This unique health check programme brings a nurse-led service to their communities, helps assess their needs and can guide them to the support services they may need.”

 

Since its inception in July 2012, the Farm Families Health Checks Programme has referred over 43% of people to other health and social wellbeing services.

 


Christina Faulkner from Farm Families Health Checks Programme said:


“Initially the Farm Families Heath Check service was funded for three years and the fact that it is now celebrating its tenth year demonstrates how firmly embedded the service is within farming and rural communities.


“It is convenient and accessible, taking the service to hard-to-reach areas and provides clients with health related advice and information about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We are able to signpost or refer to other services for example, GPs, Rural Support, or stop smoking services.

 


“We have a follow-up phone call with clients after 12 weeks to ascertain the outcome of their GP referral, this call also offers an opportunity to provide further advice and support if required.

 

“The service has now taken ownership of a more modern vehicle and hope to continue to develop and progress the service over the coming years.”

 

For more info on the Farm Families Health Check Programme visit:


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