2014-09-23 Scholarships Now Open!

Urgent prescription needed for farming, and farm family health

Scholarships Now Open!

The health and safety of the Australian farming industry is one of the poorest in the nation and more needs to be done about it according to Hamilton based National Centre for Farmer Health Director Dr. Sue Brumby.

“In 2010-11 Agriculture had the highest number of industry worker fatalities, this is not an aberration, over the previous decade the industry had been the second highest”.

“But farming’s most serious diseases are more insidious, more ingrained – and frighteningly – more traditional. For too long too many farmers have not even acknowledged illness, let alone allow it to slow the hectic work schedule now demanded by 21st century farming” she said.

Dr. Brumby said “The impact of that attitude is phenomenal – not only is the farmer at risk, so is his, or her, family and the security of the very business on which too many are working themselves to death”.

“Yet health has to be the cornerstone of it all, and as such needs so much more attention, acknowledgement – and respect – than it currently receives”.

“We have a sobering record of farmers who did not think they needed to take care of their health, not enough of them understood what was happening when their health failed. This is why we developed Agricultural Health and Medicine (HMF701), which will be run through Deakin University School of Medicine and Western District Health Service in 2015 from 23rd to 27th February” Dr. Brumby said.

Scholarships worth $1500 are now available to prospective students, who come from a diverse range of backgrounds, all working within the agricultural and health care industries.

The course has already attracted doctors, nurses, veterinarians, counsellors, agriculturalists and public health specialists from all states, some of them travelling thousands of kilometres to participate.

“They will work with an outstanding lineup of medical and industry presenters who will provide an insight of the challenges facing farmers, their families, their staff and their industry” Dr. Brumby explains.

That line-up includes surgeon Mr. Stephen Clifforth, respiratory physician Dr. Andrew Bradbeer, emergency medicine specialist Associate Professor Tim Baker, clinical psychologist Jan Austin and drug and alcohol addiction specialist Dr. Rodger Brough.

Dr. Brumby said “These specialist presenters, and the rest of the program – which also includes veterinary and farm safety experts – have been selected to deliver a concise and comprehensive introduction to the areas of farming health which need to be better understood, and clearly better managed”.

“We would encourage everyone involved in the industry – from agriculturalists to health service providers – to invest just five days in their future. It will be time well spent” she said.

Rural GP, Dr. Christel Smit Kroner said “the course helped me gain a deeper understanding of the work and life style factors impacting on my patient population. I feel more confident to open up conversations with farmers about their daily work, stresses, worries and joys”.

The NCFH Scholarships are now open and close 19th October 2014, visit www.farmerhealth.org.au or call Dr. Jacquie Cotton 03 5551 8585 for more information.


Dr. Jacquie Cotton
National Centre for Farmer Health
Western District Health Service
03 55518585