Improving access to rural health and care services is one of 14 priorities set out in a new rural campaign.
Revitalising Rural: Realising the Vision is a campaign led by the Rural Services Network to challenge Government on a number of policy areas that affect rural communities.
In terms of health and care services, the RSN calls for the establishment of health hubs in rural towns, providing treatment and tests that avoid a hospital visit. The rural champion also calls for the NHS workforce plan to specifically address rural workforce issues.
Launching its document, the RSN says that rural areas should not be left behind in the Government drive to level up the different areas and regions of our country.
“Long term, we need to close the productivity gap between rural and urban areas, creating better paid and more secure jobs. Done the right way pursuing that objective will also help rural areas to contribute fully to the Government’s green targets to become net zero for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”
Among the 14 priorities are the following:
- Managing an older rural population: Building new homes that suit the needs of those with mobility issues; concessionary travel should reflect rural travel options
- Rural fair funding: Review NHS funding formulae to take full account of service delivery costs in rural area
- Digital connectivity: Formalise the roll out of full fibre broadband networks to 2025
- Rural transport and access to services: Better use of bus routes; expand the Rural Mobility Fund
- Rural economies: Implement targeted policies that cater for SMEs and sole traders, supported by dedicated funding streams for rural businesses
- Rural planning: Give residents and parish councils a say in planning applications.