Farm Families programme ‘helped over 10,000’

Pictured are members of the Farm Families Health Check Programme team including Sylvia Moore, Ann Brannigan, Elaine Catterson, Christine Millen and Doreen Bolton.  INCT 29-732-CON
Pictured are members of the Farm Families Health Check Programme team including Sylvia Moore, Ann Brannigan, Elaine Catterson, Christine Millen and Doreen Bolton. INCT 29-732-CON

The Farm Families Health Checks Programme, which aims to increase local access to health screening services for those in rural areas, has now helped over 10,000 people.

The programme involves a mobile screening unit visiting local farmers’ markets and community events and nurses offering on-the-spot health checks including blood pressure monitoring, BMI, cholesterol check and diabetic screening. A questionnaire is also used to look for indications of depression.

Individual lifestyle advice is given on a range of health issues and onward referral to local support services is made when required.

The programme was originally initiated and piloted within the Northern Health and Social Care Trust area in 2010 and is now delivered across Northern Ireland.

This has been made possible by the support of nurses throughout the other health trusts who assist carrying out the checks.

Doreen Bolton, Northern Trust nurse coordinator said: “We are delighted that we have been able to help people who have traditionally been reluctant to come forward to their GP for health screening or advice.

“Most of the people we see are farming men from the rural community and the unit provides a convenient opportunity for them to get help if they need it.”

The Northern Trust’s Health and Wellbeing Team work on a range of programmes to help target the needs of vulnerable people.

For further information about Farm Families Health Checks or the venues the screening unit will be visiting in your area, please contact Elaine Catterson, programme support officer on 028 2563 5573.