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Farmers offered free health ‘MOT’ at the Aberdeen Christmas Classic

By David Porter

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Farmers attending the Aberdeen Christmas Classic at Thainstone on Monday, November 27 and Tuesday 28 will be offered a free health “MOT”.

Attendees will be given the opportunity to have a check-up, including blood pressure, early diabetes detection and cholesterol testing, through a pioneering project run by Scottish agricultural charity RSABI working with the ANM Group.

ANM's Colin Slessor gets a check from nurse Irene Scott
ANM's Colin Slessor gets a check from nurse Irene Scott

The Health Hut initiative was successfully trialled earlier this year at events including the Royal Highland Show before being launched at Thainstone in late summer. It will be back at Thainstone next week when farmers attending the Christmas Classic will have the opportunity to have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked, as well as a test for early detection of diabetes.

Located in the concourse at the Thainstone Centre, the Health Hut will be led by nurse Irene Scott, a practice nurse from a family farm in Fife, who has been working with RSABI throughout the year to trial the best approaches to delivering this support to people in agriculture.

Through the Health Hut, RSABI hopes to encourage farmers to think how they can improve their health and provide them with an opportunity to discuss any mental or physical health concerns they might have.

“One of the challenges faced by farmers and others working in the agriculture industry is living in remote locations,” said Carol McLaren, Chief Executive of RSABI.

“That, along with long working hours and a failure to prioritise their own health, too often results in farmers acting slowly to book appointments with health professionals when they have concerns about their wellbeing. In reality, the sooner they take action, the easier it is to tackle the problem.”

The Health Hut initiative removes some of those barriers by bringing health and wellbeing expertise to markets and other events in the farming community at a time and place convenient to them, in an environment where they feel comfortable.

“We have seen great success with the Health Huts we have run this year so far, with a number of farmers discovering underlying health conditions and subsequently seeking treatment from their GPs and we’re looking forward returning to Thainstone next week.”

Grant Rogerson, Chief Executive of ANM Group, said “We are very pleased to be continuing our work with RSABI on this ground-breaking project for Scotland.

“Initiatives like this offer great support to individual farmers and, with the Thainstone Centre being at the heart of the farming community in the North East, it is an ideal location for the Health Hut. Next week RSABI will be offering additional tests at the Health Hut and I would encourage our members and customers to make the most of the opportunity.”

RSABI offers free practical, financial, and emotional support including counselling services, delivered quickly after receiving the initial enquiry. Its free confidential support service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by calling 0808 1234 555 (calls won’t show up on phone bills).

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