This article points to the scale of the challenge facing primary care providers in rural settings. Read alongside the next article it points to the real malaise in the very sector which offers the greatest hope of sustainable and improved outcomes in rural health and care in rural settings. It tells us:
Northumberland has lost 10 GP practices in the past 10 years, with the number of patients increasing, figures show.
The county currently has 36 practices operating from 61 sites, 10 less than in 2013-14.
The figures, given to Northumberland County Council's Health and Wellbeing Board, show remaining services serve 333,900 patients, an increase of 12,000 since the same period.
They also show 75% of surgeries are more than 30 years old.
A maintenance backlog of £250,000 has also been identified, the information given to Friday's meeting showed, while 68% of surgeries are deemed as too small.
Despite this, board members were told NHS staff across Northumberland were delivering more appointments than before the pandemic.
However, demand has also risen significantly, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
The figures were presented as part of a drive to improve patient experience for those accessing primary care in Northumberland.