You may have recently seen coverage of concerns regarding the lack of broadband availability in rural areas. Such areas have been labelled “notspots” and increasingly, access to broadband/internet is used as a marker of disadvantaged living circumstances. Indeed today, it has been reported that broadband is just as essential as other utilities, including water, electricity and gas.
Rural practitioners, in some areas, are leading the way in using technology – particularly the internet – for clinical management of patients and professional development. There are exciting projects ongoing – you can find them from the links on this blog. It’s clear that the benefits of being digitally connected can overcome some of the challenges of distance, that come with living and working in remote and rural areas.
As part of this growing awareness, the Country Land and Business Association has recently launched their Staying in Touch campaign, with the aim of improving access to decent (proposed 5MBps) broadband services in rural areas.
The RCGP Rural Forum is also looking at ways to improve access to the internet for its members. Revalidation and e-learning are just two of many hot topics that will rely heavily on e-communication, and difficulty with access to fast, reliable internet is likely to create difficulties in keeping up-to-date and e-literate. If you do currently have difficulty with this in your own practice, we’re keen to hear from you now.