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Trial mobile health clinic supports South Waikato shearing gangs to look after their wellbeing

This month He Hauora Oriori, Pinnacle MHN's trial mobile health clinic, completed health checks for more than 40 shearers and shed hands while supporting South Waikato shearing gangs to look after their wellbeing.

"Health has become prevalent on the minds of many within the farming and shearing industries," says Rawiri Blundell, Pinnacle MHN Māori health manager. "It is a timely reminder our health services need to be more accessible to those not able to get to appointments because of travel or work commitments." 

Within the shearing industry, personal health often becomes a lower priority. Contributing factors include workplaces being rurally isolated, long travel distances to town, long hours of work and the inconvenience to the contractor in backfilling workers when they're required to leave the shearing shed.

"A lot of my whānau work in the shearing industry, so I understand the challengers the shearing gangs experience in not being able to access health services" Rawiri says.

Charlie Macintosh from Macintosh shearing contractors said Te Hauora Oriori was "extremely valuable as it provided a huge range of checks to many who were unable to visit health professionals or clinics". 

"The shearing gangs were a little hesitate at first, wondering whether it was going to be a lecture on what we 'should be' doing" he said, "but it wasn't like that and the staff were friendly and informative about how important it is to get checked. Having nurses and a doctor on site was even more appealing, it was awesome."

Onsite health checks and information focussed on:

  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular risk assessments
  • blood pressure
  • smoking cessation
  • cervical smears
  • prostate exams
  • health education talks.

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