DAERA Minister Edwin Poots and Health Minister Robin Swann have visited the new state of the art Farm Families Health Check Programme (FFHCP) vehicle provided by investment of Pound 95,000 from DAERA's Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) programme.
The FFHCP provides a comprehensive physical and mental health screening and advice service to farmers who visit the 28 livestock markets throughout Northern Ireland. The same services are also provided at selected agri-food events and at community based events in rural areas.
DAERA Minister Edwin Poots commented: "The Farm Family Health Check Programme continues to go from strength to strength. FFHCP is a successful example of effectively using farmers' marts and local community infrastructure to promote and deliver a service that is accessible and appropriate to the specific health and social wellbeing needs of the farming community."
The Minister continued: "I'm delighted to have been able to support the purchase of the new vehicle for the FFHCP through my Department's Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) programme budget. Having the new vehicle in place will go a long way to securing the sustainability of the service for many years to come."
Health Minister Robin Swann joined with Minister Poots at the Balmoral Show to view the new vehicle and commented: "This innovative and well-designed programme offers clear evidence of collaborative partnership working between Executive Departments, Health and Social Care Trusts, the community and voluntary sector, as well as regional sporting organisations all coming together to ensure the FFHCP is supporting farm families, including those who are more vulnerable and isolated farmers.
"Each health check includes measurements of an individual's blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, diabetes risk and a mental health assessment. At the conclusion of the check, the nurse will offer tailored lifestyle advice based on the person's needs, which can include being advised to see their GP or referred to other agencies as appropriate."
A client who availed of the service commented: "When I attended the FFHCP, a health issue was identified and I was referred to my GP. The health check prevented me from developing a more serious health condition and I will be forever grateful."
Dr Brid Farrell, Director of Public Health at the Public Health Agency, said: "It is great to see the new Farm Families vehicle in operation, ensuring the outreach service can be easily accessed. This programme is fully embedded within the rural community and continues to play an important role in supporting emotional and physical health and wellbeing in rural communities, offering a nurse-led health check with tailored health advice and onward referral to local support services as required."