I think this article gives much food for thought in terms of rural places and particularly in relation to our high proportion of older residents. It tells us:
The coronavirus crisis has disrupted routine healthcare disproportionately across society with women, older people and minority ethnic groups most likely to report cancelled or delayed appointments, prescriptions and procedures, researchers say.
Public health experts trawled through data from nearly 70,000 people enrolled in 12 major UK studies that surveyed the population before and during the epidemic. They found evidence for widespread inequalities, with disadvantaged groups often facing the greatest disruption to their medical care.
“Many of the people who report experiencing the greatest healthcare disruption often had poorer health prior to the pandemic,” said Vittal Katikireddi, a senior author on the study and a professor of public health at the University of Glasgow. “While experiencing healthcare disruption is common across all social groups, our study raises the possibility that the health of the most disadvantaged in society might actually be more impacted by the disruption to the health system.”
He added: “Prior to the pandemic the UK had large health inequalities, with the health of more disadvantaged social groups often worse. This problem had actually been getting worse even before the pandemic and there is a real risk that it could actually get much worse.”