McAleer welcomes return of Farm Families health check van visits

Declan McAleer MLA has welcomed the re-introduction of the Farm Families health check van to the community setting following the COVID lockdown.

Saturday, 10th July 2021, 2:45 pm
Declan McAleer MLA and Mary T Conway of Omagh Forum for Rural Associations with Christina and Helen who carried out the checks and  Pat McCullagh who was the first person to get a health check on Wednesday morning.
Declan McAleer MLA and Mary T Conway of Omagh Forum for Rural Associations with Christina and Helen who carried out the checks and Pat McCullagh who was the first person to get a health check on Wednesday morning.

Mr McAleer said: “I was delighted to welcome the Farm Families health check van to Loughmacrory on Wednesday where nurses spent the day carrying out essential health checks on local people.

“This service is funded by DAERA and the Public Health Agency and the visit to Loughmacrory was organised by the Mens shed and St Teresa’s GAA club in partnership with Omagh Forum for Rural Associations.”

Mr McAleer continued: “In isolated rural areas there are many reasons why people do not or cannot access health services. This could be due to many reasons such as no access to transport or a belief that you should only attend the doctor if you are sick.

“Unfortunately, at that stage it may be too late, so regular checks and ‘MOTs’ are crucially important to prevent serious illnesses.

“The positioning of the van in the local community makes it more accessible, but importantly it also helps make people feel more relaxed in familiar surroundings.

“This is particularly the case for those who are anxious of medical settings and who may experience ‘white coat syndrome’.

“In line with COVID public protection measures, the van could not be used during the lockdown, but with the restrictions easing it is great to see this vital service back on the road again.

“I strongly support the Farm Familes Health check service and I have been vocal about this in the Assembly and in support of DAERA’s funding of the project through their Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) programme.

“I strongly encourage people to access this service either at the marts or in a community setting, particularly if you do not routinely get your health checked.

“A visit to the van could detect and prevent serious illness or even save your life.”