11/05/2022 - Rural Health and Social Care Sub Group Meeting

Date: 11th May 2022
Subject: Rural Social Care and Health
Chair: Cllr Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council
Hosted: Online Event via Zoom

- To download the agenda associated for this meeting, click here

- To download a copy of the RSN's 'Market Sustainability and Fair Cost of Care Fund' presentation click here

- To download a copy of the NCRHC's 'APPG on Rural Health and Social Care's - Inquiry into Health and Care' presentation click here

- To download a copy of the learning outcomes click here

Learning Outcomes

  • Key issues facing rural councils in delivering care services include:
    • Resource, rural areas receive significantly lower levels of funding from Government than urban areas.
    • Workforce, recruitment, and retention of staff in rural areas is more challenging generally and are exacerbated by the lack of affordable housing, travel costs, etc.
    • Demography, rural areas have a higher concentration of older people compared to urban, which places a higher burden on rural local authorities to deliver care services.
    • Self-funders, there are higher levels of people funding their own care in rural areas, making them more sensitive to funding reform.
    • Care Homes, there are greater numbers of care homes in rural areas compared to metropolitan areas, many of these care homes however service the needs of non-rural residents.
    • Sparsity, there are geographical challenges in providing care in large and remote rural areas due to the time and costs involved in delivering care over long distances.
  • Market Sustainability and Fair Cost of Care Fund - RSN Chief Executive stated that a recent meeting with the Care Minister it was highlighted the need for local authorities to start build strong health foundations, if not they will not be looked upon favourably for future funding. As a condition of receiving funding, local authorities will need to evidence the work they are doing to prepare their care markets and make submissions to DHSC by 14 October 2022. RSN will be contacting local authority health members to ask them to share their submissions, so it can track allocations to establish whether rural receives it fair share of funding.
  • The Local Government Finance Settlement 2022 to 2023 included additional funding for local authorities to cover some of the demographic and unit cost pressures facing social care. The Market Sustainability and Fair Cost of Care Fund is additional to those pressures and will help local authorities to meet their new duties.
  • Launch of the Report of the Inquiry into Rural Health and Care after 18 months of intensive work by the Rural Health and Care APPG and the National Centre for Rural Health and Care a Full Inquiry Report was launched on 1 February 2022. The full report is accompanied by a useful Overview.
  • Chief Medical Officer – Professor Sir Chris Whitty was at the launch and incredibly supportive of the findings stating, “rural areas have received much less attention than they should have”, a point echoed in his Health in Coastal Communities Report.
  • The APPG Rural Health and Care Inquiry report tells us rural areas are different:
    • There is a disproportionately older population, often with more complex co-morbidities and a paucity of younger people.
    • The ebb and flow of rural populations due to seasonal demands associated with tourism and agriculture makes provision of health and care even more challenging.
    • Health in rural areas is not just dictated by the quality, range and capacity of health and care providers. Access to good public transport, digital connectivity, housing and education plays an imperative role too.
    • Economic uncertainties have a significant impact in rural areas, resulting in high levels of unhealthy behaviour and suicide.
    • Due to poor data collection and the granularity of data used, there is an incorrect assumption that all rural areas are affluent.
    • The NHS is a huge system which is place blind and its big is beautiful mentality often unwittingly drives health inequalities. A person, not system centred approach is needed.
    • Much can be learned from international best practice. The Inquiry took evidence from 89 witnesses from both UK and Overseas and the third sector. International evidence shows that retention is high in rural areas if you recruit and train in rural areas.
  • Rural areas need a strategy that recognises the economic and social benefits of delivering levelling up in rural areas: without such recognition rural England will be overlooked, by-passed, and pushed down further, rather than levelled up. Such a strategy needs to be delivered across departments and focused on genuinely levelling up and revitalising rural area/economies.
  • Recommendations from the Inquiry into Rural Health and Care Rural Health Report are divided in to four areas:
  1. Build understanding of the distinctive health and care needs of rural areas
  2. Deliver services that are suited to the specific needs of rural places
  3. Develop a structural and regulatory framework that fosters rural adaption and innovation
  4. Develop integrated services that provide holistic, person-centred care

Member Best Practice and Case Studies
  • Devon Communities Together have recently completed a piece of work on digital pathways to care, looking at rural digital health inequalities. The project was funded by NHSX and was delivered by working with the Devon CCG and VCSE partner Wellmoor. To access the findings click here.
  • Mobile UK is working on a report highlighting case studies on how technology is being used in the health sector. The report is expected to be published by July and will be shared by the RSN.

Action Points for All Members

Useful Links


Attendance and Apologies


Full Name


Ivan Annibal

National Centre for Rural Health and Care

Graham Biggs MBE

Rural Services Network

Kerry Booth

Rural Services Network

Nora Corkery

Devon Communities Together

Cllr Pauline Crockett

Herefordshire Council

Abi Culley

Warwickshire County Council

Jane Deville

University of Lincoln

Cllr Marion Fitzgerald

Allerdale Borough Council

Cllr Graham Gooch

Lancashire County Council

Cllr Bill Handley

South Cambridgeshire District Council

Nik Harwood

Young Somerset

Sean Johnson

Lincolnshire County Council

Rachel Kemp

North Yorkshire County Council

Cllr Patrick Kimber

West Devon Borough Council

Berni Lee

Shropshire Council

Jeremy Leggett


Hamish MacLeod

Mobile UK

Jenny McConnell

Reed in Partnership

Elizabeth Morgan

Northumberland County Council

Cllr Roger Phillips

Herefordshire Council/Rural Services Network

Cllr David Rogers


Alessia Rose

Devon County Council

Nadine Trout

Rural Services Network


Full Name


Cllr Owen Bierley

West Lindsey District Council

Pip Cannons

Community Catalysts

Angela Crossland

North Yorkshire County Council

Lois Dale

Shropshire Council

Cllr Judith Derbyshire

Eden District Council

Gemma Finnegan

Cornwall Rural Community Charity

Cllr Virginia Gay

North Norfolk District Council

Cllr William Gray

East Lindsey District Council

Nick Grubb

Wrekin Housing Group

Gavin Iredale

Reed in Partnership

Cllr Tony Leech

West Devon Borough Council

Toby Matthews

Norfolk County Council

Shelagh Meldrum

Yeovil District Hospital/Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

John Metcalfe

Cumbria County Council

Gary Powell

Teignbridge District Council

Cllr Louise Richardson

Leicestershire County Council

Rachel Robinson

Shropshire Council

Cllr Richard Sherras

Ribble Valley Borough Council

Ian Sherriff

University of Plymouth Faculty of Health

Cllr Alan Sutton

Chichester District Council

Grace Tompkins

YMCA Lincolnshire

Mark Trafford



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