Appeal aiming to save vital rural health service
An appeal to save an important health screening service has been launched at Newark Livestock Market.
The launch was part of Keeping The Countryside Healthy, an event organised as part of Nottinghamshire Mental Health Fortnight to help highlight the problems and challenges of dealing with mental health issues in rural areas.
A clinic at the market was started seven years ago by the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network, with Nottinghamshire Rural Support (NRS) taking joint responsibility after it was set up in 2013.
It has helped hundreds of people with physical and mental health issues, including early detection of some potentially life-threatening conditions.
Until this year most of the £24,000 annual cost was met by the NHS but that money has been withdrawn.
The NRS needs to raise £8,000 a year as its contribution to save the service.
Its chairman, Mr Peter Geldart, said the clinic reached people who might otherwise be slow to seek medical help and offered excellent value for money.
According to an independent review, a consultation with a nurse at the clinic costs an average £31 per visit, compared with £42 for a district nurse appointment and £66 for a GP.
“Losing the NHS funding was a real disappointment and we quickly decided that we must do all we could as a charity to keep the clinic running,” said Mr Geldart.
“We thought Nottinghamshire Mental Health Fortnight was a relevant time to talk about the increase in the number of mental health cases being referred to us and the reported rise in mental health problems among young people.”
Over the past year there were almost 300 consultations at the clinic.
They included checks on blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol, as well as wound care.
The clinics also provided advice, screening and information about cancer.
About 40 visits were about mental health, covering everything from mild anxiety to depression.
At the appeal launch the chief executive of the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network, Alison Twiddy, and nurse Heather Dawes spoke about the work of the clinic.
The chief executive of the Farming Community Network, Mr Charles Smith, spoke about rural mental health nationally, and leading Nottinghamshire clinician Amanda Farr gave an overview of mental health in the county.
Farmer Mr Philip Wynn, of Fulbeck, spoke about the importance of mental health to agriculture.