Launch of National Centre for Rural Health and Care

Posted: June 28th 2018


A pioneering new centre to improve health and care in rural areas across the UK is being formally launched in Lincolnshire this week.

The National Centre for Rural Health and Care, which is the brainchild of health and education professionals from Lincolnshire and the East Midlands, has been a year in development.

Now the centre is ready to launch and start work to bring about improvements in healthcare delivery in rural settings, through research, better use of data, workforce developments and improved technology.

It is now established as a Community Interest Company and has a clear strategic vision and business plan. It brings together expertise from many sectors, including the NHS, the University of Lincoln, Lincolnshire County Council, the East Midlands Academic Heath Service Network, Health Education England and Public Health England.

The centre will be formally launched at an event at Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June. This will include a keynote speech by Bishop of Manchester David Walker who has a strong commitment to rural issues.

A Chair has been appointed to lead the work of the centre. Dr Richard Parrish CBE is a biologist by background with a special interest in population biology. Richard has worked in public health or higher education for most of his professional life.

He said: “This is really a very exciting enterprise to be a part of. There is the scope for this Centre to bring about real, tangible change to the way that people living in rural areas experience and access health and care services. My thanks go to Jan Sobieraj, Chief Executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, for taking forward the concept and making the launch a reality.

“We have already made great progress over the past year, setting out our vision, developing our brand and presence and gathering national, and international support. We’ve already won some important research looking into future health care workforce needs in rural settings which will report this summer.

“We’ve also achieved support for a cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry into rural health and social care, being established by Anne Marie Morris MP. This would provide some very high-profile national interest in the issues faced in delivering rural healthcare, helping to further and develop our work on a national level.”

The launch of the centre is generously supported by the Greater Lincolnshire LEP Growth Hub.

For more information about the centre, see

Notes to editors:

If you wish to attend the event for interviews, please contact Anna Richards at or on 01522 707410.

Parliamentary enquiry:

The all-party parliamentary group was established in 2016 by Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot in rural Devon, to look at the key issues facing the country of providing good quality and effective health and social care in rural settings.

The enquiry will explore eight key issues looking at where we are and what needs to change.

Evidence gathering will be by questionnaires and written calls for evidence, one on one interviews and panel group sessions in the House of Commons to which key witnesses from academia, the NHS, primary and secondary care, local government, the third sector, the regulators and patient groups will be invited.

The enquiry will be chaired by Anne Marie Morris MP and Professor Richard Parish along with subject experts. The enquiry benefits from a support group drawn from across the health and care disciplines.