Looking after the health & wellbeing of rural communities

Living in a rural community can have a positive impact on your health. Research carried out by DEFRA4 revealed that if you live in the countryside your life expectancy is on average two years higher than those living in major urban areas. And you are less likely to die prematurely from cancer, stroke or coronary heart disease.

While this is good news for our physical health, it doesn’t paint the full picture. Those living in rural and farming communities work long and hard hours (the average farmer works 65 hours per week5) and often alone which can lead to a sense of isolation. Financial worries and Brexit are also adding to the pressures many feel. This is why looking after mental wellbeing is becoming a growing priority for many people.

In addition, accessing healthcare in rural communities can be more difficult. Remoteness, lack of public transport and the centralisation of health services can reduce overall accessibility to doctors and hospitals. While it is difficult to reduce distances, technological developments – such as virtual GP services developments are helping.

So what proactive steps can you take to look after your health & wellbeing?

  • Consider Private Medical Insurance (PMI).  PMI provides peace of mind and offers fast and convenient access to medical advice and treatment when it’s needed most.  The cost of PMI varies depending on the level of cover and many policies are designed to complement the NHS.
  • Are there ways you can improve your work/life balance? A recent study6 revealed 40% of farmers wanted to know more about ways of balancing their work, family and time off.  The study gave examples of pooling resources and delegating more decisions and responsibilities to others.
  • Take a health screen to identify any health problems early. CLA Healthcare has negotiated a special arrangement for members to have a comprehensive health screen in the comfort of your own home. This includes tests for osteoporosis, Bowel cancer, Prostate disease and Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
  • Make time to talk. Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. There is also support available from organisations such as The Farming Community Network (www.fcn.org.uk) and the Samaritans (www.samaritans.org).


Specialist help for CLA Members

If you want to find out more about ways you can support your overall health and wellbeing, speak to a member of the CLA Healthcare team on 01274 717361 or email healthcare@cla.org.uk


4 Defra’s Statistical Digest of Rural England
5 Farmers Weekly
6 Fit2Farm Study

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