Annual Rural Doctors’ Conference: Autumn 2009

irhlogoThis year’s Rural Health Week – including the Rural Doctors’ Conference – which aims to raise the profile of rural health issues locally, regionally and nationally, will be held from September 27 to October 3.

The theme chosen by the Institute of Rural Health (IRH), which organises the week, is ‘Reaching Out: Enabling access to services for the vulnerable and hard to reach in rural areas’.

“The theme builds on work that we have done on rural stress and rural support and recent rural health research,” said Jane Randall-Smith, IRH chief executive. “It’s about creating different ways to make services more accessible for people who are often at risk of missing out.

“The theme is intended to be all encompassing and we hope everyone with an interest in rural health and wellbeing will get involved. We are looking for examples of innovation across the UK that address these needs.”

The week is designed to bring together people at all levels, from individuals and voluntary organisations to health professionals and local government workers, to celebrate the successes as well as to raise awareness of the challenges involved in delivering health and care services to dispersed rural communities.

It’s the one time in the year that people have a real chance to put rural health issues firmly on the national agenda by organising an event, activity or exhibition to promote their work.

“To make Rural Health Week a success, we need people to get involved,” said Mrs Randall-Smith. “They don’t need to organise a big event; a small exhibition or community activity is just as important to raise awareness of rural health issues.

“Although we cannot help to organise events and activities, we will promote them on our website and try to include them in publicity about Rural Health Week.”

The IRH also welcomes messages of support, which are posted on the Rural Health Week website.

All examples of good practice and innovative services that emerge during the week will be shared on the online database.

Formed 12 years ago, the IRH is a UK-wide academic charity, working to inform, develop and promote the health and wellbeing of rural people and their communities. Its three main academic programme areas are research and projects contributing to the evidence base, education and training, and policy analysis, including rural proofing.

The IRH, which also co-ordinates the work of the Rural Health Forum, can be contacted on Tel: 01686 650800 or by e-mailing

For more details on the Rural Doctors’ Conference, see the flyer here.

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