Health and Social Care Spotlight - May 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:

How to reduce Rural Ambulance Waits

An article from the BBC discusses how the NHS is promising to reduce the gap between how long it takes to get a 999 response to critically injured patients in rural and urban areas.  A BBC News investigation into the highest-category callouts has found rural areas waited over 50% longer.

Council warn of £1bn social care hole

Following the announcement that councils will be allowed to raise taxes by 2.99 per cent in 2019/2020, town hall leaders warned of a £1 billion social care funding gap, as reported by the Independent.

Rural Schools struggle with deprivation and achievement

Schools Week and the Big Issue this week report on results that show that children in rural areas on free school meals score lower in tests than their urban peers on free school meals.

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 April 2019 meeting included a discussion on the funding of adult social care.
The Nov 2018 meeting featured a presentation from Cllr Chapman from Shropshire Council on the use of assisted health and social care technology to deliver services and information about the presentation can be accessed here.

Rural Health and Wellbeing Seminar

Our regional seminar programme of 7 events includes one which took place this week on Rural Vulnerabiliity.  It was kindly hosted by Sevenoaks District Council and featured speakers from the Council, UK Power Networks, Southern Water and Bipolar UK.
The July Seminar focuses on Rural Health and Wellbeing and more information will be available in the next Health Spotlight about this event.

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

Retired Doctors recruitment drive to boost rural workforce 

(18 March 2019) 
Recently retired doctors are being recruited by Scotland's NHS to fill gaps in rural areas.  A new drive has been launched to encourage doctors to return to work to help with low staffing levels. The initiative involves clinicians who have recently retired or who are working part time taking on short-term work at rural general hospitals. (BBC News)

Campaign continues to keep rural hospital open

(17 April 2019) 
The campaign's continuing to keep the All Hallows Hospital at Ditchingham near Bungay open.  Last month All Hallows Healthcare Trust announced all its services were likely to shut because of financial difficulties. (ITV News)

Dementia Friendly first churches

An estimated 850,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed as living with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, with this number forecast to increase to around one million by 2025. Ellesmere Deanery, made up of 14 churches in Shropshire, has become the first in the country to have a full house of dementia-friendly churches.(Church of England)

Rural Crime Officers also providing mental health support

(1 Mar 2019)
RURAL police in north Pembrokeshire are doing more than tackling crime, proving their worth to farmers and people in isolation at risk of mental ill-health. (County Echo and St Davids City Chronical)

Charities call for urgent support to tackle rural health issues

(5 April 2019)
The modern-day challenges facing Britain’s farming families need urgent recognition backed up by a robust system of support, a rural health and well-being report has concluded.  The report by the University of Lincoln and rural economic consultants Rose Regeneration highlighted concerns including mental health, long working hours and rural isolation. (Farmers Weekly)

Lincolnshire Refugee Doctor Project are members of the RHCA and was established in 2016 with the aim of helping refugees who hold a medical qualification to become registered to practise medicine in the UK: this process, which for doctors fleeing conflict in their home countries is remarkably difficult, and may take several years to achieve.
This is especially important in rural areas where there are difficulties in recruiting medical professionals.

Warwickshire Older Peoples Forum are also RHCA members and represent the interests and promotes the wellbeing of older people in the county.  
They are focused on the main health and wellbeing concerns affecting older people, the NHS, adult social care, dementia, social isolation and loneliness, and access to services inc transport.

11th April - World Parkinsons Day
We are working in partnership with Parkinson’s UK in rural communities throughout England to address issues such as vulnerability, isolation and loneliness, transport and poor access to communications.

Following World Parkinson’s Day on the 11th April, we want to raise awareness of Parkinson’s new campaign, Parkinson’s Is, with our rural networks.

NHSX: digital experts will be part of cancer and mental health teams

We hope that this approach from the Government has been rural proofed to ensure the technology works in rural areas where there is often no mobile phone or superfast broadband capabilities.  

It reports that digital and data specialists from NHSX will team up with NHS England’s cancer and mental health national policy teams to help clinicians and policymakers improve patient experience through technology.

The digital experts will support teams in:

  • making it easier for patients to access services through smartphones
  • giving clinicians access to the relevant diagnostic information about a patient
  • making it easier to collect and use health data which can benefit research and patients

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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