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As the Covid-19 pandemic enters its third year, a health and wellbeing outreach service to fishing communities in the UK is continuing with the SeaFit Programme – a joint initiative between Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) and the Fishermen's Mission.

SeaFit grants fishermen and their families easy access to free-of-cost health and wellbeing services.

The programme offers dental check-ups at special events; mental health support; physiotherapy; and support to safely quit drug use, alcoholism and smoking. These services are provided in partnership with a range of providers such as Dentaid, Fishwell, Fairwinds, NHS Cornwall, Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, and the Eastern Liver Network.

SHS CEO Sandra Welch said: 'Fishermen have busy and unpredictable schedules, which makes it difficult to arrange health and wellbeing appointments. Seafarers Hospital Society works with our partners to ensure that taking care of oneself is not a burden for the fishing community.'

Building on the successes of 2021 – such as the take-up of over 1,400 vaccinations by migrant fishermen working in the UK – the programme is well-placed to identify gaps in policy affecting these communities and liaise to provide workable solutions.

Quayside health events such as this Kent prostate cancer awareness day are held thoughout the UK by SHS and its partners. Image: SHS

Aside from quayside health events – such as upcoming 2022 events in Skye (10 September) and Shoreham Port (10 November) – SeaFit also conducts online sessions for members of the fishing community who may struggle to come to an event (such as a recent training course on the use of Naloxone).

Representatives of SeaFit will also be participating as speakers in SHS' health webinar series covering key issues like cancer awareness, stopping smoking and men's health.


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