Whilst visiting a particular practice in Tasmania, I noted that many of the injuries the patients were visiting the doctor with were work-place related. The local meat works was the town’s largest employer but the repetitive nature of the hard work (and, sometimes, sharp knives accidentally going astray) meant it was actually quite a dangerous place to work.
Keen to see as much of the contributors to health as possible, I organised a site visit:
I’d never been to a factory and the sheer efficiency of it amazed me. It was great to see that all the beasts entering the factory were locally raised and that the meat was readily available in the supermarket, as well as being distributed across the world. Many of the places I’ve visited in Australia and New Zealand are spoilt with soil and can locally grow all kinds of marvellous produce: I’m eating very well. In fact, I went to the supermarket recently and turned my nose up at oranges imported all the way from the USA. I’m going to have a hard time adjusting back to the city supermarkets of the UK!
Industry is a difficult subject in rural places: I have found that local people are often reluctant to speak positively of the big employer(s), yet it widely recognised that the jobs they create are incredibly important. On working conditions, employees can’t really vote with their feet and move to other employers when the rural area is dominated by one big company. Similarly, the young of the place can be limited in the industries they are exposed to growing up. Luckily, most of the places I’ve visited have fought for scholarships and bursaries to send their teenagers on exchanges and their young adults away for higher education.