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Delivering for Remote and Rural Healthcare: The Final Report of the Remote and Rural Workstream

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Foreword

This Report presents to the Scottish Government our vision for the development of a sustainable health system for remote and rural Scotland. It provides a framework for rural health services to continue to develop and enhance their roles in the continuum of healthcare across Scotland. The framework is intended to help services orientate themselves towards the changing needs of communities and make best use of available resources to deliver further improvements in the health of people living in remote and rural areas.

Access to healthcare should be as local as possible, for the whole population of Scotland, no matter where they live. The remote and rural steering group were tasked to develop a policy for sustainable remote and rural healthcare services and this report summarises their response to the agreed objectives for the first phase of the project. These were intended to:

1. Deliver a strategy for sustainable healthcare in remote and rural Scotland, through a number of sub-groups, by acting as Programme Board for Projects, ensuring linkages between relevant projects and identifying synergies, cross cutting issues and gaps to be addressed;

2. Define the role and function of a Rural General Hospital;

3. Develop a framework of generic principles of service delivery for primary care in remote settings;

4. Develop a rural education strategy, in support of the national agenda, including development of a proposal to establish a virtual School of rural healthcare;

5. Review the role of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Retrieval Services to determine the appropriateness of this service in supporting unscheduled care in remote and rural areas;

6. Develop a workforce planning arrangements to support the remote and rural agenda.

This framework has been developed through engagement and consultation with those who deliver healthcare in remote and rural areas, with other agencies and some public representatives. Common to all of these groups is their passion for the provision of first class locally delivered services. The challenge has been to identify common elements within the diverse aspirations.

Roger Gibbins
Chair
Remote and Rural Steering Group