Archive | Hot Topics

Marmot Review on Health Inequalities in England

The Government is currently consulting on a review of health inequalities in England, and how to reduce them – as part of the “Marmot Review“.  The RCGP Rural Forum recently noted that there is no mention of rural/remote health services in the supporting documents, and how populations in these areas are frequently subject to health inequalities as compared with their urban counterparts.

The Forum is therefore keen for feedback from rural practitioners to help inform a submission to the review team.  If you’d like to get involved with this, or wish to provide information to the Forum, please get in touch – to blog@ruralgp.org.uk in the first instance.

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Conference Focus: Clinical Skills Unit

skillunit3The Rural Forum are pleased to confirm that the Clinical Skills Unit will be in attendance at the RCGP Annual Conference, in Glasgow on November 5th-7th.  The unit comes in the form of an articulated lorry, containing a clinical environment where resuscitation and surgical procedures can be practised.

skillunit2

It carries an impressive range of simulation models, which can be controlled by a team concealed within a separate room, allowing adult and paediatric resuscitation scenarios to be played with maximum realism.  Models are available for CV and arterial line insertion.  Procedures such as cannulation, chest drain insertion and intubation are possible too.

skillunit1

The Unit, funded by NES (NHS Education Scotland) has already embarked on a tour of Scotland, with further dates and venues planned for the next few months, details of which are available from the website.  The Unit is a 2-year pilot project funded by NES – if you want to take a look, and think about booking a visit for your area, watch out for it at the conference.

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e-GP: online learning for GPs

egpIf you haven’t already visited the new e-GP online learning site, this one’s well worth bookmarking.

Shaped around the ever-evolving RCGP Curriculum, the site has been developed by the Department of Health and RCGP.  Over the next two years, more and more content will be added – and the uniqe aspect of this resource is that modules are written by practising GPs, exclusively targetted at present and future GPs.

As well as being a resource for GPs in training, its content is also aimed at qualified GPs to facilitate continuing professional development, in particular for revalidation purposes.

The RCGP Rural Forum is keen to identify which rural topics might be considered for inclusion on the e-GP site.  If you have any ideas (or indeed are interested in helping to develop these) please get in touch.  Ideas so far include rural occupational medicine and emergency care.

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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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