10/03/2023 - Permalink

Free health checks for farmers scheme to be expanded

Related topics: Community / Health / Partner organisations

Free health checks provided to farmers by Shropshire Council’s community wellbeing outreach team at Shrewsbury Livestock Auction Centre for the past month have been so successful that they are being extended beyond the pilot period.

A health checks van and three outreach officers wearing blue jackets

Shropshire Council’s wellbeing outreach team at Hall’s Livestock Auction

Rather than being held weekly, the council’s mobile clinic will in future visit the livestock market, one of the busiest in the West Midlands, on the first and third Tuesday in the month from 9am until approximately 2pm, depending on demand and continuing on Tuesday 21 March 2023.

Partners from NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Diabetes Team and Severn Trent will also be attending some of the clinics to extend the advice and awareness services offered to farmers.

Further services may be added to the mobile clinic which is supported by Shropshire Rural Support and auctioneers Halls.

An outreach officer from Severn Trent joined the council’s community wellbeing outreach team on Tuesday 7 March to offer advice on a range of topics including paying water bills, supply interruptions and main pipe bursts.

An outreach worker from the diabetes team will join the mobile clinic on Tuesday 4 April to raise awareness about the health condition and offer treatment advice.

The mobile clinic, which has two rooms, will be at Shrewsbury Livestock Auction Centre on Tuesdays: 21 March, 4 April, 18 April, 2 May and 18 May in the next few months.

The council is also planning a similar service at other livestock markets in the county, including at Ludlow where, on Friday 24 March, the community wellbeing outreach team will be promoting the health check prior to the launch on Friday 14 April.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for public health, adult social care and communities, said:-

“The response and feedback to the free health checks at Shrewsbury livestock market have been extremely positive. The farmers have been very welcoming.

“Over the last month we have had 63 visits from farmers who have come for free blood pressure tests. It’s also an opportunity to talk about anything they like, and this is just as important.

“If someone has high blood pressure, officers signpost them to their local pharmacist who will monitor them over a number of days. If their blood pressure is really high,  they are advised to seek medical support as soon as possible through their GP.

“One farmer who was advised to seek medical support through their GP came back to the clinic having cut out salt and changed his diet completely, which resulted in a drop in his blood pressure.

“So many people have high blood pressure and it can impact not only their health but also their income and lifestyle. We are trying to get in early so that farmers can take action themselves, maintain their health and prevent extra strain on the health service.”

Jonny Dymond, Halls’ senior auctioneer and Shrewsbury Livestock Auction Centre manager, is delighted that the mobile clinic services are being expanded:-

“This service is raising awareness of how important a health check is to farmers, who tend to put the welfare of their animals before themselves. Our message is: Get yourself checked out.”

Andrew Bebb, Shropshire Rural Support chairman and a dairy farmer at Hanwood, near Shrewsbury, was the driving force behind the free health checks trial, which is also supported by the NFU:-

“The trial has been such a roaring success that we are starting to roll it out to the other livestock markets in the county.”