Archive | Hot Topics

Feature Link: Rural Services Network

This website offers a clean, well-organised resource for rural issues in England.

“The Rural Services Network is a membership organisation devoted to safeguarding and improving services in rural communities across England.

Already 250 organisations across the complete range of rural services are in membership, including local authorities, public bodies, businesses, charities and voluntary groups across the spectrum of rural service provision.”

We’re pleased that they’re featuring the latest RuralGP post from their front page!

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Feature Link: Centre for Rural Health

There’s always been a link to the Centre for Rural Health from this blog, but they’ve recently made some great improvements to their site.

The Centre is based in Aberdeen University, where there seems to be a lot of rural research going on – for health as well as other topics too.  Aberdeen is now home to one of 3 UK Rural Digital Economy Hubs. In April, the University was awarded £12.4 million to investigate how digital strategies can help enhance rural communities, including the potential benefits for healthcare.

You can see a full list of the Centre’s current research projects on their website.

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Country Land & Business Association & "Notspots"

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.

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Wales: Views sought on Rural Health Plan

Information below on how to contribute to the Welsh Government’s consultation on the Rural Health Plan:

wag_logo_en> Rural Plan Steering Group

A major new plan to drive forward improvements in healthcare services in rural areas will be published by the Welsh Assembly Government today [Friday, 1 May].  The Rural Health Plan, which is out to consultation, delivers on a commitment in the One Wales document, and aims to address the challenges faced in ensuring people have appropriate healthcare particularly in sparsely populated communities.

The document has been developed by a group under the chairmanship of Lord Elystan Morgan in close consultation with local people, health professionals and other key groups in rural areas. 

The plan includes: Continue Reading →

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Scottish Centre for Telehealth Conference

All the presentations from February’s SCT conference are now available from here.  [Dec13 – sorry, link no longer active, presentations no longer appear to be available]

Topics include establishing where Scotland is at now with its telehealth strategy, managing long term conditions at home with telemedicine, clinical photography, dementia & telehealth, and involving communities in service redesign.

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NHS24 in Rural/Remote Areas

You may be aware of an excellent source of R&R research – Rural & Remote Health.   Thanks to Gordon Baird, who flagged up an interesting article into how the out-of-hours telephone service NHS24 (similar to NHS Direct in England & Wales) fares for remote & rural communities.  Direct link to the article (including PDF) here.

I’ve also added a new RSS bar on the left – this now links directly with the current contents of the European issue of R&RH.

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Single Handed by Rosie Donovan

Here’s an interesting insight into the work of some of our more remote colleagues.  Granted, this isn’t recent news, but I thought it might tempt readers who’ve not seen this before.

Rosie Donovan is a Scottish photographer who carried out a photo-documentary of the lives of several remote & rural GPs in Scotland.  The exhibition that resulted is apparently on permanent display at RCGP in Edinburgh, and is also available in a book – you can order yours on her website.

However, much of the content is available to peruse on the site too – note that you can click the portrait photos to find out more about each story.

Sometime soon, I hope that some practitioners’ profiles can feature on this blog.  For the time being, I’m sure Rosie’s commentaries will provide an insightful read.

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Revalidation for Rural Practitioners

reval_guideThe RCGP have just released their Guide to the Revalidation of General Practitioners. It’s a must-read given that the GMC plans to phase in its strategy for relicensing and revalidation in 2009.  Whilst the document itself doesn’t specifically address issues of revalidation in rural/remote practice, there is work going on – including within the RCGP Rural Forum – to represent these concerns at national level.

 

We’ll report on the key updates, including any opportunities to get involved with the Rural Forum’s work on this.  Meantime, the NHS Revalidation Support Team is worth looking at.  If you’re keen to contribute to the process, contact us at blog@ruralgp.org.uk and we can put you in touch with the relevant people.


nhslogo

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James Ferguson on Telemedicine

Clip from Lesley Riddoch‘s BBC Scotland show on 18 January 2008.  James Ferguson is Consultant in A&E Medicine in Aberdeen, with an interest in telemedicine – he’s part of the team at the Scottish Centre for Telehealth.  He covers topics related to remote medicine, including hospital closures and using technology to reduce the problem of distance.  Recommended listening!

[podcast]http://cdn2.libsyn.com/rqs/January_18__2008_Teleheath.mp3[/podcast]

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Lesley Riddoch on Telehealth

Lesley Riddoch, an excellent broadcaster on Radio Scotland, interviewed some top names in Telehealth in 2007.  Although it was recorded 2 years ago, the standard of broadcast is high and the programme is more about what telemedicine could eventually achieve.

Those interviewed are: Dr Leonard Witkamp a dermatologist and Director of the Telemedicine Centre in Holland; Dr Richard Scott of the e-Health Research Programme at the University of Calgary and Prof James Dunbar of Dept of Rural Health at Flinders Univ in Australia.

[podcast]http://www.lesleyriddoch.co.uk/files/health_chat.mp3[/podcast]

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