Dunne highlights that in rural areas above average elderly populations which require greater support, fewer medical settings and greater sparsity and distance have all increased pressure on clinicians and care workers.
In particular, he argues that rural areas have been slower in receiving broadband and even mobile phone connectivity, leading the crisis to expose real challenges.
While home working is feasible for many jobs in urban areas, lack of connectivity still excludes too many in sparsely populated parts of the country.
Employment in rural areas is also disproportionately in essential roles – hospitals and local authorities are often the largest employers in county towns, and residential care homes are frequently the largest employer in a village.
He argues that when the crisis passes, the Government will need to look seriously at rural/urban inequalities to ensure rural areas recover alongside urban areas, both in health and the economy.
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