Rural Health Conference 2013

"Challenging Times - One Year On"
Working together to deliver effective rural health services

Friday 18th October 2013
Sandy Park Conference Centre
Sandy Park Way,


Following our inaugural event, held in 2012 in Nottingham, this year’s Rural Health Network conference was sponsored by Devon County Council in Exeter. The programme majored on the potential efficiencies and benefits to patients and carers from the opportunities arising from telehealth and telecare applications and current issues in respect of rural health. The conference was very warmly received by many delegates with most describing the day as excellent.
Proceedings were chaired by Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley & Holderness and co-founder of the Rural Fair Share campaign.  Mr. Stuart is also the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Services.
Keynote presentations were provided during the day by eminent professionals and academics from a range of clinical and other backgrounds. The second part of the day was devoted to participative workshops demonstrating best practice and insights in to current professional challenges around rural proofing and funding allocations.

Graham Stuart’s opening conference address

(For the address - click here)

“What England can learn from Scotland’s experience in deploying telehealth to rural communities.”

Professor James Ferguson, Clinical Lead, Scottish Telehealth Centre
(For the slides of this presentation - click here)

“BT and 3 Million Lives – One Year On – an overview of the national telehealth initiative and the related BT project in Cornwall”

Dave Tyas, Remote Service Lead, Peninsula Community Health
(For the slides of this presentation - click here)

“Bringing Healthcare Home - outline of a district general hospital’s experience in Yorkshire providing healthcare in the home setting”

Ann Wagner, Director of Strategy and Business Development, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust
(For the slides of this presentation - click here)

“Competition or Collaboration? – Which works best for small district general hospitals – is integration the answer? – a personal view”

Jo Newton, Former Chair of the West Mercia PCT cluster
(For the slides of this presentation - click here)

“Integrated Commissioning – providing safe and effective paediatric services for rural areas”

Dr. Deb Lee, Consultant Paediatrician, North Cumbria Universities Hospitals Trust
(For the slides of this presentation - click here)

Rural Proofing Toolkit update

- Martin Gorringe, DEFRA
(For more information on this workshop - click here)

Neighbourhood Health Watch – helping rural communities to help themselves

-Dr.Jane Aitken & Jayne Clarke, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

Libraries and Health Project in Somerset - Dr. Malcolm Rigler, GP and Heather Eardley, Patients Association

(For more information on this workshop - click here)

Recovery Project

Dr. Julie Repper, Helen Brown, Scott Pemberth, Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust

Mental Health Recovery and Life Care support

(Information to follow)

Improving Health and Wellbeing in Rural Areas

- Mary Nisbett, Director, Lessons from Health Living Centres - Westbank Healthy Living Centre, Exminster

Why don’t rural areas get their fair share of health funding? - an update following the Health and Social Care Act 2012 reforms and implications for the future

Professor Sheena Asthana, Plymouth University
(For more information on this workshop - click here)

Conclusions and Feedback

Many delegates described the event as “excellent”. Some said it was the best conference that they had ever attended. Two offers were made to host another Rural Health Network event in 2014. The Rural Services Network will now be taking forward a number of suggestions from delegates as well as the speakers for areas of development and future work. The RSN will also be working with Mr. Stuart’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Services to look at current challenges in providing high quality health care to rural communities. A knowledge hub service will also now be launched to enable Rural Health Network members to participate in on line discussion forums and to post details of best practice for sharing with others.


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