South Western Ambulance Service targets healthcare inequalities in the farming community with innovative DVD

Tuesday, 08 June, 2010

South Western Ambulance Service has released a healthcare DVD aimed at farming households. Over 500 copies will be posted to farming families across Devon in the coming weeks. The short DVD entitled; 'Prevention is better than cure. Stay Healthy. Stay Working. Seek Advice', is aimed at the farming community, who are urged to take just five minutes to watch the DVD which includes information on what to do in an emergency, including procedures when an air ambulance is arriving as well as general health advice.

The DVD is one of the development initiatives delivered by the Trust, supported by the Department of Health under the Pacesetters Programme. Pacesetters is an initiative looking at introducing high quality interventions to tackle health inequalities and discrimination issues faced by diverse groups. The NHS South West Strategic Health Authority and the Devon Air Ambulance Trust charity have also been involved. Local agricultural organisation Harpers Home Mix Supplies will be distributing the DVD's at no cost to the Trust through established contacts in the farming community.

The aim of circulating this DVD is to help reduce health inequalities and improve access to healthcare by encouraging farmers to start taking greater interest in their health. The healthcare of farmers can be improved by raising awareness of the importance of healthcare including the role of the ambulance service, access to GP surgeries and NHS Direct.

By their nature the farming community can be isolated from mainstream services and have developed a culture of self-sufficiency and stoicism. Research has identified that farmers are a high risk group and the Trust started working with the farming community in January 2008, with the aim of finding out what support farmers wanted from the health service. One of the biggest issues raised is that they do not have time to go to the doctors or consider their own health care needs.

The DVD comes with Polish and Russian subtitles to link in with other initiatives including targeting migrant workers in the south west.

Ian Hopkins from the Trust is very impressed with the project outcome and commented; "Many thanks to everyone involved in this important initiative. The farming community plays such a pivotal role across our region and I sincerely hope that there is as much positive feedback for the DVD as was generated at the health clinics at farmers markets, which led to the production of this short film.

Michail Sanidas, Equality and Human Rights Manager for the NHS South West Strategic Health Authority has welcomed the development of the DVD and said. "This DVD demonstrates the commitment of the ambulance service to provide services for the farming community. Farmers and their families will be able to access the high quality information at their own pace and time. I am confident that the DVD will ensure that farmers receive a service that is more responsive to their needs"

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