Health clinic for farmers opens in Derek Mead's memory
PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:23 25 April 2018
A health facility which was the brainchild of the late Weston councillor Derek Mead has opened on the M5.
The Hewish dairy farmer and councillor approached Somerset groups with the concept of creating a health clinic for farmers a year before his death in 2017.
He spoke with organisations including Weston Lions Club, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Mole Valley Farmers and Sedgemoor Auction Centre to help him with the initiative.
A Health Clinic Steering Group was formed and more than £14,500 raised to maintain a clinic for more than a year.
Hard work finally paid off as The Derek Mead Health Room opened on April 14 off junction 24 at the Sedgemoor Auction House, an agricultural market.
Weston Lion John Holland said: “About two years ago Derek approached us with his concept.
“He wanted to set it up for agricultural workers who take care of animals and the land but not themselves.
“Derek was aware of the problems; attempted suicides and friends of his who experienced a breakdown and some who had died and some who weren’t looking after themselves.
“He recognised the value of having a nurse somewhere on neutral territory.”
Derek’s son, Alistair Mead, said the family was keen to continue what his father had started.
He said: “My sister Katherine and my dad had visited a few auction health clinics around the country and saw they were busy and in demand.
“We want to give farmers better access to health advice as it’s not easy as a farmer, when you are busy all the time. Farmers support the market, so this returns the favour.”
Somerset Partnership has backed the scheme on behalf of NHS England, however staff wages and upkeep will be paid for by the steering group.
Service leader Jane Fitzgerald said: “We expect a lot of the farming community will have a concern about their health.
“Maybe they are not feeling well and their partner nags them to go to the GP but they don’t have time to go. This is a way to get checked whilst fitting it in with their day-to-day life.”
A similar clinic ran a number of years ago but was forced to close due to a lack of funding. There were around 20 visitors on the opening day.