The National Centre for Rural Health and Care (NCRHC), which is the brainchild of health and education professionals from Lincolnshire and the East Midlands, has been a year in development.
Now the centre is ready for its national launch, to be held in the Strangers’ Dining Room at the House of Commons, London from 4pm on Tuesday 16 October.
The centre has already started work to bring about improvements in healthcare delivery in rural settings, through research, better use of data, workforce developments and improved technology.
Keynote speaker on the day will be the Chair of Public Health England Duncan Selbie.
This will be followed by presentations on some of the work already being undertaken as part of the centre, including an insight into research on the NHS workforce by Professor Ann Green of the University of Birmingham, which has already revealed some interesting figures relating to staffing challenges within the NHS in rural areas.
As part of the launch the NCRHC has joined with the Rural Services Network (RSN) to launch the affiliated Rural Health & Care Alliance (RHCA) – a membership organisation dedicated to providing news, information, innovation and best practice to those delivering and interested in rural health and care across the UK.
The aim of the alliance is to keep members informed of the national centre’s activity and the related activity of the RSN on rural health and care and give them the opportunity to influence both organisations’ work.
The RHCA’s core values will be supported via its work and include seeking equity of health and care for rural communities, creating a strong collective voice for those involved in rural health and care as well as raising awareness of the challenges faced in rural health and care provision.
National centre Chair Dr Richard Parrish CBE said: “This is really a very exciting enterprise to be a part of. There is the scope for this centre to bring about real, tangible change to the way that people living in rural areas experience and access health and care services.
“We have already made great progress over the past year, setting out our vision, developing our brand and presence and gathering national and international support.
“At the launch event we’re pleased to be able to present some insight into the work already underway, in particular around community pharmacy, the NHS workforce and pain management, which shows just what a valuable thing this centre will be.”
In addition, MP for Newton Abbot, Ann-Marie Morris, is also launching an all-party parliamentary enquiry into rural health, in conjunction with the centre, and will be in attendance at the launch to speak about her work.
For more information about the centre, see www.ncrhc.org