Hinterland - 20 May 2019

In Hinterland this week - In Hinterland this week, rural areas at the cutting of edge of climate change impacts, the NHS in its short staffed and variable service standards manifestations, not enough care provision and the challenges of waiting for a bus in Maltby… Read on...

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Britain needs to make ‘radical changes’ to achieve net-zero greenhouse gases target by 2050

This story and the one which follow it demonstrate how the challenge of living within our environmental means is likely to be very stretching.  It tells us:

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report has recommended that the government set a target of net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

According to the report Net Zero, achieving this, will involve a radical re-think in farming practices and changes to how the British population live, including eating less meat. It will also bring significant changes for the countryside, from agricultural practices to conservation.

The call has been welcomed by wildlife groups, which believe that taking measures to mitigate climate change go hand in hand with reviving the UK’s biodiversity. The CCC says that increasing 32,000 hectares of woodland is required every year for the next 30 years, moving the UK from 13% to 17% woodland cover. This equates to a million new hectares of woodland cover and some 1.5 billion trees.

“There is a potential win-win here,’ said Beccy Speight, CEO of the Woodland Trust.  “It is essential to address the climate and natural environment crises together – recognising them as being interconnected and not two separate challenges. Woods, trees and their associated wildlife and the landscapes in which they sit are being impacted by climate change.”


‘This is a wake-up call’: the villagers who could be Britain’s first climate refugees

Jessica  and I have worked with a number of the communities with coastal erosion on the East Yorkshire Coast and the scale of climate change is very visible here, with up to 2 metres of land being lost per year to the sea. This story, which is very worrying for many coastal communities tells us:

It will become the first community in the UK to be decommissioned as a result of climate change; while other villages along England’s crumbling east coast have lost houses to accelerating erosion, none have been abandoned. It may also create hundreds of British climate refugees: the residents of Fairbourne are not expected to receive any compensation for the loss of their homes, and resettlement plans are unclear.

It will not be the last village to meet this fate. Sea levels around the UK have risen by 15.4cm since 1900, and the Met Office expects them to rise by as much as 1.12m from modern levels by 2100, putting at risk communities in coastal floodplains and on sea cliffs, which are found around much of the east and south coast of England.

The west of Wales and north-west England are also vulnerable. Even if the world’s governments succeed in reversing increasing emissions in line with their Paris climate commitments, sea levels are set to rise for centuries, as the impact of higher global temperature and warmer oceans takes effect.


Mental health spending varies widely across England

It is interesting that both Cornwall and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw (which is more rural than you might think) come in the top 3 spenders profiled here and that two rural authorities come in the bottom three. This suggests a significant variation in the support for people with mental health challenges in rural areas. The article tells us:

There is nearly a two-fold difference in mental health spending across England, an analysis suggests.

Mental health charity Mind looked at investment across 42 NHS regions.

It found that Surrey Heartlands spent the least - £124 per person last year - compared with South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, which spent more than £220.

The charity said the differences were huge and would affect the quality of care but, despite the variation, spending was still rising everywhere.

The findings have been released to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

Mental health spending has been made a priority in recent years.

In 2016, extra funding was announced and this was added to last year when the government announced its 10-year plan for the NHS.

The analysis by Mind showed all areas were increasing their mental health budgets in line with the overall increase in spending - part of a requirement set by the senior leadership in the NHS.

But that masked the big variations that still existed, according to the projected spending levels in 2018-19.

The biggest spenders (per person, per year)

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw £220.63 
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly £207.97
North Central London £205.11
The lowest spenders (per person, per year)

Surrey Heartlands £124.48
Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin £134.77
Gloucestershire £137.00


NHS staff shortage: How many doctors and nurses come from abroad?

We know that the lowest proportion of NHS staff per head is in rural communities. This story tells a worrying tale if one of the only ways of addressing that issue is through “poaching staff” from countries who can ill afford to spare them. It tells us:

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) will soon begin a major campaign to recruit health workers from other countries to meet growing staff shortages.

Reports suggest a strategy has been drawn up to target a number of countries around the world, including poorer nations outside Europe.

One estimate in March this year said the NHS will need 5,000 extra nurses every year - three times the figure it currently recruits annually.

But what about the countries that it will recruit from - what impact will it have on them?

Where do non-UK staff come from?

The NHS already recruits globally to meet its staffing needs.

More than 12% of the workforce reported their nationality as not British, according to a report published last year.

The biggest group of foreign NHS workers are from the EU - 56 in every 1,000.


One in four English postcode areas have no care provision – study

I suspect many of these areas in rural settings in England. We still appear (in these Brexit fixated times) to have no real sense of how to deal with the huge challenge presented by Adult Social Care.

A study commissioned by Age UK found that large swathes of the country were “care deserts” lacking residential care or nursing homes.

Caroline Abrahams, the charity’s director, said the research showed how “chaotic and broken” the market for care had become after years of underfunding. “If the awful situation set out in this report does not persuade our government to finally get a grip and take action, I don’t know what will,” Abrahams said.

The study, conducted by Incisive Health, an independent health consultancy firm, found that more than one in four postcode areas in England – 2,200 out of around 7,500 – had no residential care provision. Two-thirds (5,300) had no nursing homes, for people with more acute problems.

The report said more than 1.3 million over-65s lived in these areas and risked being unable to get support if they needed it.

The study found that a big driver of the problem was a lack of staff. Vacancy rates for nurses in social care rose to 12.3% in 2017/18. The report said staffing was a particular problem in the south-east, and that high numbers of EU staff in the sector, many of whom have left or are planning to leave, could mean extra disruption from Brexit.


And Finally

Council left red-faced after £6,000 bus shelter built on road with no buses

I know Maltby well although I’ve never waited for a bus there. On the strength of this story its just as well I haven’t as they never actually come to some of its bus shelters…..

Residents were left scratching their heads after a £6,000 bus shelter appeared on a street where no buses run.

The shelter popped up in place of a rusty old pole on Tickhill Road in Maltby, South Yorkshire, earlier this month.

But council officials were left red-faced after it emerged the two-bus-a-day service along the road was axed back in March.


About the author:
Hinterland is written for the Rural Services Network by Ivan Annibal, of rural economic practitioners Rose Regeneration.


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