UUP Spokesperson on Mental Health, Robbie Butler, has called on the Stormont Agriculture Minister to “urgently increase the number of much-needed mobile health check clinics across the Province, especially in rural areas”.
Mr Butler issued his appeal following a question to the minister in the Stormont Chamber in which he asked for an update on the rural mobile health check clinics.
Responding to Assemblyman Butler, the Minister said: “He will be aware that the scheme has been ongoing for some time. I had the privilege of welcoming the twelve thousandth recipient of the health checks to Saintfield mart the week before last.”
However, Mr Butler responded by stating: “I am not sure that what happened in Saintfield is an overall update. That aside, the checks have provided an invaluable service in rural areas. Will the Minister commit to reviewing the clinics and work alongside the Public Health Agency to ensure that it is also adequately identifying and signposting poor mental health issues?”
On this occasion, the Minister told Mr Butler: “I agree absolutely with everything that he said, having met people who benefited from the clinics and spoken to staff. People have found the clinics beneficial, particularly farmers who live on their own, are isolated and who do not always look after, or are mindful of, their health.
“They are very much mindful of the welfare of their animals but often forget about themselves. This has been a fantastic service, and people have found the benefit of it,” the Minister told Mr Butler.