Health and Social Care Spotlight - June 2019

This newsletter on rural health is provided for the RSN and the Rural Health and Care Alliance
It includes a roundup of rural health news, research, learning and best practice. If you have any information you wish to share with other members of the Alliance or case studies that you think others would benefit from, please let us know!
Please forward to colleagues if they are interested in rural health

News stories that have been featured on our website include:

Rural surgery pioneers social prescribing

A rural medical centre in Lancashire that aims to turn patients away from pills and towards pastimes like dominoes, draughts and dancing is featured by ITV.

Crowdfunding campaign launches to tackle holiday hunger this summer

With summer around the corner, Feeding Derbyshire (a local anti-poverty network) is Crowdfunding to provide activity clubs and meals for local children.

Rural healthcare 'deserts' identified

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that the countryside is at risk of becoming a ‘healthcare desert’ as 10 million people struggle to access GP appointments and hospital treatment. People living in rural areas sometimes face 60-mile round trip journeys after closures of nearer services.

Families trapped in poverty in rural Britain

Channel 4 has produced a ten-minute news piece on poverty in rural Britain as part of its Breadline Britain series.  The video emphasises that while the countryside is often idyllic looking, severe areas of poverty also exist which often pass unnoticed. In particular, ‘in-work’ poverty is prevalent and several interviewees said that they feel they are simply to working to survive.

RSN provide a range of opportunities for colleagues to come together to discuss issues affecting rural health. Member organisations are welcome to attend these events for free.
Click the links below for more info:

Rural Health and Social Care Meeting 

This takes place in London twice a year.
The next meeting open to members, takes place on 2nd December 2019, watch this space for more info!

Rural Health and Wellbeing Seminar

Our regional seminar programme of 7 events includes one on Rural Health and Wellbeing in July.  It is being kindly hosted by West Suffolk Council.  Open to members of the RSN and RHCA, there will be a variety of speakers including Kate Pym from Pym's Consultancy.  They are one of our RHCA members and provide offering support and training to SMEs and Health and Social Care organisations.
To book onto the event, please contact

Working at scale, what do Primary Care Networks mean for rural economies'

Primary care services ‘provide the first point of contact in the healthcare system, acting as the front door of the NHS.’ It includes general practice, community pharmacy, dental and optometry services. Primary care has a pivotal role to play in Government ambitions for safe, personalised, proactive out-of-hospital care for all. This includes the establishment of Primary Care Networks (PCNs). Since April 2019 individual GP practices have been able to establish or join PCNs covering populations of between 30,000 and 50,000. What are PCNs and what do they mean for rural areas? Jessica Sellick investigates.

The RSN's Observatory is the place to discover the statistics behind key issues facing rural communities in England, issues that the RSN is striving to highlight and tackle through its work. The Observatory is additionally a great place to understand the numbers that define the communities within our membership through an expanding group of analyses, with this body of work soon to be given its own area on the RSN website called Member Insights.

Recent analysis includes frequency of walking and cycling activity set out by Local Authority area.

It also includes statistics on Housing, Health & Wellbeing, the Economy, the Environment and Travel and Transport.

Mental Health training for Farming Team

(17 June 2019)
Barclays National Head of Agriculture, Mark Suthern, spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme about why the bank is rolling out specialised mental health training for all 150 Business Bank agricultural managers across the UK. (Barclays)

Two hours a week spent outdoor in nature linked to better health

(13 June 2019)
Spending just 2 hours a week in green spaces such as parks, woodlands and fields has been linked with people feeling healthier and happier. (New Scientist)

Cornish village's GP surgery saved from closure after campaign

(11 June 2019)
A doctor’s surgery at the centre of a community campaign to find a new GP will not close after partners from a separate surgery stepped in to help, it has been announced. (Guardian)

CSW Group is an RHCA member who are  a social enterprise whose mission is to inspire, develop and support people, communities & organisations to make positive change through sustainable high quality services. Their 200-strong team operates mainly in the rural areas of the South West, although we deliver contracts as far as the Midlands and into London.  Their team is motivated by the belief that support means more than a shoulder to lean on. They provide each individual with unfaltering attention, empowering them to make a lasting positive change. The CSW Group approach has enabled thousands of people to access learning and employment over the last 20-plus years.

Support in Mind Scotland (SiMS) are another RHCA member and supports around 1,300 people every week who experience poor mental health and over 80% of those are in rural communities where services are not so accessible.Support in Mind Scotland set up, developed and runs the National Rural Mental Health Forum, which is a strong network of rural people and stakeholders driving change to enable rural people to be open about their mental health, have a solid evidence base for what works to improve people's lives and create a programme to influence policy-makers to channel resources in ways that bring positive change through a network of rural organisations

Loneliness Awareness Week 17-24 June 2019

A new campaign launched by Loneliness Minister Mims Davies is helping to tackle the stigma of loneliness and encourage people to speak out.  Launched during Loneliness Awareness Week, it brings together charities, organisations and businesses including The Marmalade Trust, the Co-op Foundation, the British Red Cross, the Campaign to End Loneliness, Mind, Public Health England and the Jo Cox Foundation to help people talk about their feelings. For more information on the campaign click here.

The Plunkett Foundation has some great ideas for how some community co-operatives are supporting those suffering from loneliness and isolation.#thelittlethings
Watch their video here

The LGA has released a guide for Local Authorities in effectively combating loneliness building on the latest evidence. The guide focuses on older people but we anticipate that the recommendations will be beneficial to other age groups.Click here for more information.

What is the Rural Services Network?

RSN is a membership organisation and the national champion for rural services, ensuring that people in rural areas have a strong voice. We are fighting for a fair deal for rural communities to maintain their social and economic viability for the benefit of the nation as a whole.
Our membership includes over 120 Local Authorities and over 170 rural service provider organisations.

What is the Rural Health and Care Alliance? 

The Rural Health & Care Alliance is a membership organisation dedicated to providing news, information, innovation and best practice to those delivering and interested in rural health and care.

It has been established through a partnership between the National Centre for Rural Health and Care and the Rural Services Network (RSN) and is affiliated to both the National Centre and the RSN.

Members will be kept informed of the National Centre’s activity and the related activity of the RSN on rural health and care and have the opportunity to influence both organisations’ work.


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