Lancaster University

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Video to improve rural health

07/11/2001 09:43:18

The Farmers Health Project has produced an information video to help spread awareness about important lessons that have been learned by this nurse-led outreach service. The video will also assist health care providers in other areas to set up similar mobile health services and make healthcare more relevant and accessible to rural people.

The video was completed just as the foot and mouth crisis appeared. This has meant that project has had to withdraw from its regular visits to auction marts, farms, and agricultural shows in South Cumbria and North Lancashire. Nurses and support workers who run the project have had to adopt different strategies to offer support to their clients. Imaginative use of radio, telephone, email, websites and now setting up in supermarket car parks and church halls, has kept the project visible and operational.

Dee Howkins, FHP Nurse Practitioner said:"During this very difficult time in the agricultural industry with all movements to and from farms restricted, we have drawn on the foundations of trust which have been built over the past two years and agency/networking relationships and our farming clients. Recently the clinical work has not been the most important factor, with farmers more worried about their stock than their health. However we have been 'a one stop shop' for helping to solve farmers' problems, from severe financial hardship to career advice. If we cannot help we certainly are working with someone who can. With our personal and professional knowledge of this industry we are adapting positively to this rural challenge and are looking at other venues rather than auctions to deliver our service. Church halls, agricultural colleges, and supermarket car parks being among the venues. Our clients know where we are and how to access our service, dissemination of the project work has spread far and wide and we have taken calls from Pembroke to Stirling and all points in between. We are very pleased to have received further funding to continue at least for a further year, in what I am sure will be a 'service in great demand' over the coming months."

A second Rural Health Study Day is being organised at Lancaster University to take place in October 2001. The study day will be part of the dissemination process of work undertaken by the Farmers Health Action Research Project, following a successful Study Day held in October 2000.

During the sessions participants will hear about recent findings from the Farmers' Health Project and there will be a chance to view a film about the initiative: Taking Action in Rural Health: The Case of Farmers, commissioned by the Countryside Agency.