Here is a brief update on key NCRHC activities.
It is now approaching six months since the publication and launch event for the report. It was well attended and hosted virtually by the office of Anne Marie Morris MP. The key note speaker was Sir Chris Whitty. Approaching 100 individuals attended the event and the report and the presentations setting out the learning from it were outlined effectively and well-received. A number of follow up actions are planned post report and feedback on progress to date along with a plan for a second push to generate further interest was considered by the Board at its June meeting.
Health Education England Legacy Funding
Planning for the implementation of the following programme of activities continues:
1) Piloting of the National Centre for Rural Health and Care Toolkit (PI recommendation 4) – We have 4 early adoption areas on standby to implement the rural health and care toolkit, develop with Rural England. They are: Devon, Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Shropshire. Output 4 detailed case studies and the directly positive health outcomes arising in these settings.
2) Develop a curated network for innovative primary care centres which are community focused (PI recommendation 12) – identifying and sharing best practice about multi-agency working, self-care and increased health literacy in relation to rural health inequalities. We intend to have an initial focus on coastal settlements associated with the key health workforce challenges identified in the PMOs 2021 report. Output a gazeteer of best practice and a fully functioning and self supporting ongoing network.
3) Create a knowledge exchange of good practice and problem solving focused on the rural challenges associated with the interface between health and care (PI recommendation 10 and 11) – we will undertake detailed research across England and follow the international good practice leads arising from the Parliamentary Inquiry to look at writing up and sharing examples of where dislocation at the interface of health and social care, in the context of local delivery blight desired outcomes. This will focus on more effective resourcing of early discharge from acute settings, the most effective examples of staffing of domiciliary care and the effective use of technology to support innovation. We will not only create a repository of good practice but we will create a self supporting network of rural ICS interested in this theme, beginning with our own membership, but open to all. Outputs detailed report covering best practice and a dedicated ongoing community of practice.
4. Create a rural mental health network (PI cross cutting) – there is significant recognition of the need for a good practice and network facility to address the particular nature of rural mental health. The Scottish national rural mental health strategy has delivered a real impetus in terms of the recognition of this issue and has driven preventive improvements and a recognition of the importance of this issue from a workforce perspective, both in terms of the skills needed to address mental health challenges in rural settings and the mental health challenges facing rural health practitioners. Output, Rural Mental Health Strategy and good practice dissemination materials and plan.
Northern Ireland Rural Proofing Toolkit
Our work with all the Health Trusts in Northern Ireland has borne good fruit. We now have a fully fledged Northern Ireland version of the rural proofing for health toolkit. We anticipate launching it in October, potentially at Stormont. In the meantime our partners in Northern Ireland who have been involved in the development of the new version will present it as an example of good practice at an OECD international symposium on rural policy in the Republic of Ireland in September.