News July 2021

Posted: July 18th 2021


The National Centre continues its dynamic agenda of putting rural challenges and opportunities at the forefront of people’s thinking. Here are some examples of what we are currently up to.


NHS Confederation Community of Practice

The National Centre has been working with the NHS Confederation to set up a community of practice for rural issues open to both sets of organisational members. An inaugural meeting with a focus on covid and localities ran very successfully and involved presentations from: Nuffield Trust, Cornwall Rural Community Charity, Lincolnshire Local Medical Committee, the Confederation and the National Centre. More detailed proposals for the operation of the Community will be circulated to all RHCA members but in the meantime if you have a particular interest in this opportunity to network please let us know. You can access a recording of the inaugural event here


Parliamentary Inquiry into Rural Health and Care

A successful review meeting of progress towards the writing up of the above Inquiry has recently been held. The follow up actions were agreed with a view to a revised scheduling of a review of the emerging evidence with more third parties once the write up was further developed. This supersedes the original proposal of a follow up meeting in June 2021. The target for launch of the outcomes of the Inquiry remains September/October 2021. If you’d like to hear more about some of the insights arising from the process in the meantime please feel free to contact us.


Rural Proofing Toolkit

The National Centre now has in principle commitment from Shropshire, Lincolnshire and Devon to trial the new rural proofing for health and care toolkit developed jointly with Rural England and the Nuffield Trust. You can access it via this link.

A follow up discussion to bring the next stage of the process to fruition through a scoping exercise is planned. There is still scope for more organisations to participate. If you are interested please let us know. 


Rural IMD 

In partnership with Cirican (a consortium of Rural Community Councils) the National Centre ran a successful seminar featuring the rural IMD information developed by University of East Anglia. The key presentations can be accessed on the Cirican website here.


Defra Discussions

Through our links with the Rural Coalition we had the opportunity to brief Defra on the key issues in terms of health and care. The points we made are set out below. If you would like to participate in this narrative as it evolves please register an interest by dropping me a line. Key “asks” from Government from a rural perspective:

1.) A greater focus on the workforce challenges facing health and care from a rural perspective – we feel this is the biggest single issue accounting for rural health inequalities. 

2.) The need for a better and more balanced approach to the use of the IMD. Professor John Shepherd’s (Birkbeck) analysis of the work Mandy Burke and Andy Jones from UEA sits at the heart of this and we are keen to encourage far more extensive use of this nuanced index. 

3.) The need to look more closely at the ongoing unfairness within the funding formula for rural health and care resourcing. The report from the Nuffield Foundation commissioned by the National Centre on this issue is an area of active interest central to the writing up of the outcomes from the APPG Inquiry into Rural Health and Care which is currently in train and will be published in the autumn. 

4.) We also attached a copy of the Rural Proofing for Health Toolkit which we have also launched this year and which as discussed is highly pertinent to this whole agenda. 


Coastal Report

It has come to the attention of the NCRHC that Professor Chris Whitty has commissioned a coastal report on health inequalities. This is worth looking out for as the findings will be highly pertinent to our agenda. Professor Sheena Asthana, of the University of Plymouth one of the academics engaged with the report shared her emerging thinking at a recent seminar jointly organised between Cirican ( and the National Centre. I am happy to share her slides (with her agreement) if you want to drop me an email.


Campus for Future Living

This really exciting £6.3 million investment in a new multi-agency health centre, combining primary care, meditech development, the creation of community based social care companies and training and CPD activities for clinicians in the isolated rural settlement of Mablethorpe is now accelerating pace. It was developed in part by the National Centre. Key partners including University of Lincoln, Medical Technology Innovation Faculty (Nottingham Trent University), Health Education England, Lincolnshire ICS and East Lindsey District Council. It will be a national, post pandemic centre of excellent for rural health and care, funded by the Towns Fund. If you would like to know more please contact us.