The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

June Edition of Casebook from the Rural Health and Care Alliance

June 2024 Edition

In this edition of Casebook we give an overview of the health and care pledges featuring in the leading parties manifestos, look at the importance of community transport in accessing health care, the switch from analogue to digital phone lines and the implications for telecare users, the potential for increased digital inclusion to save lives, the Care Act and community provision, as well as a research opportunity from the University of Central Lancashire. Read on to find out more…


The Rural Services Network has reviewed each of the main parties manifestos to see how their pledges algin with the asks made in the RSN’s Winning the Rural Vote Campaign. Below is a summary of what each political party is promising on health and care provision. The RSN will be working hard over the coming months to engage with the next government to ensure the needs of rural communities are heard and acted upon. 

Conservative
Labour
Liberal Democrats

Expand coverage of Mental Health Support Teams from 50% to 100% of schools and colleges in England by 2030.

Labour will provide access to specialist mental health professionals in every school, so every young person has access to early support to address problems before they escalate.

Improve early access to mental health services by opening walk-in hubs for children and young people in every community.

Open early support hubs for those aged 11-25 in every local community by 2030.

An additional 8,500 new staff to treat children and adults through our first term. As part of our mission to reduce the lives lost to suicide, these new staff will be specially trained to support people at risk.

Address the underfunding and neglect of children’s mental health services, youth services and youth justice services.

Our Dental Recovery Plan will unlock 2.5 million more NHS dental appointments,

Labour’s new Young Futures hubs will provide open access mental health services for children and young people in every community.

Create a social care workforce plan, establish a Royal College of Care Workers to improve recognition and career progression, and introduce a higher Carer’s Minimum Wage.

Rural and coastal communities will be better served through ‘golden hellos’ to encourage dentists to work in these areas, and through new dental vans.
 

Will trial Neighbourhood Health Centres, by bringing together existing services such as family doctors, district nurses, care workers, physiotherapists, palliative care, and mental health specialists under one roof.

Give everyone the right to see a GP or the most appropriate practice staff member within seven days, or within 24 hours if they urgently need to. Increase the number of full time equivalent Gps by 8,000. Establising a Strategic Small Surgeries Fund to sustain services in rural and remote areas.

We will further improve access to NHS services across England by training more staff in rural and coastal areas. For the first time the NHS Constitution will reflect the bespoke healthcare needs of rural and coastal communities and the need for the NHS to tailor services accordingly.

Establish a cross-party commission to forge a long-term agreement on sustainable funding for social care.


Next government urged to prioritise community transport to cut local NHS waiting lists

The CTA manifesto, A Better Future for Transport: National Challenges, Community Solutions calls for a new and dynamic partnership between the next UK government, CTA and the Community Transport sector to continue to fill the gaps left by a shrinking bus network; respond to an ageing population, protect the future of the NHS and social care; tackle climate change, reduce poverty, inequality and the cost of living crisis, and level up the nations and regions of the UK.

CTA Director for Scotland, David Kelly said:

“Investing in community solutions is essential to build a more accessible, affordable, and attractive transport system with far-reaching benefits.

“As we look towards the general election, it is vital the next UK Government fully values and invests in community transport. Working with communities is not only a pragmatic solution to alleviate pressures on our NHS and the social care system, but it is also the right thing to do to demonstrate our collective commitment to ensuring universal access and greater equality for generations to come.”

Produced in collaboration with UK wide Community Transport operators and CTA members, the CTA Manifesto focuses on five key priorities based on the national challenges facing the UK;

  • Modernising for Growth
  • Improving Access to Health and Social Care
  • Investing in Community Solutions
  • Accelerating Community-led Climate Action
  • Delivering a Fair Deal for Volunteers

CTA research found that trips to access health services are amongst the popular purposes for CT, to support people to get to GP surgeries, hospitals, hospices, vaccination centers and care homes.

Accessible ‘door-to-door’ or ‘door-through-door’ services by Community Transport make thousands of health and social care appointments possible every year and save millions of pounds through preventing missed appointments, delayed discharges and longer waiting lists.

The benefits of community transport schemes run far beyond a single health-related journey. Launched in August 2022, CTA supported 18 pilot schemes through the Tackling Loneliness through CT project in a bid to research how transport policies can reduce the number of people feeling lonely in England.

93% of people participating in the project reported that accessing CT had a positive impact on feelings of isolation or loneliness.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Community Transport solutions and to join the campaign for Community Solutions can find out more at www.ctauk.org/manifesto2024/ or get involved on social media using #CommunitySolutions


Potential for 24,000 lives a year to be saved through health literacy for over 65s

The Digital Poverty Alliance has recently released its National Delivery Plan Overview 2024 in a foreword from the CEO Elizabeth Anderson she stresses the importance of digital inclusion and how it has the potential to save lives as well as tackle loneliness.

The report highlights the barriers to digital access and proposes innovative solutions to foster digital inclusion. It emphasizes the critical role of digital connectivity in driving social and economic progress in rural areas.

Key findings include the identification of primary obstacles to digital inclusion, such as lack of infrastructure, affordability issues, and digital literacy gaps. The report also outlines strategic recommendations for stakeholders, including policymakers, businesses, and community organisations, to collaboratively address these challenges.

We strongly encourage all members to review this insightful report to better understand the digital inequities affecting rural regions and to engage in initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide. By staying informed and proactive, our network can help ensure that rural communities are not left behind in the digital age.

You can access the full report here


The Care Act 2014: Ten Years on from Royal Assent

Community Catalysts CIC have written a report on the Care Act shining a light on some of the positive things that it has enabled while also sharing their thoughts on what more needs to be done to enable the essence of the Act to really and truly make a difference to people’s lives.

In the report Pip Cannons Community Catalyst CEO shares the importance of community micro enterprises in delivering care stating they enable:

  • Person centred care – care and support that is tailored to the ambitions of the individual and promotes wellbeing in a way that traditional care packages struggle to achieve. This is due to the flexible and local nature of micro-enterprises.
  • More choice and control for people using direct payments – employing others to support them is not their only option. This drives up the use of direct payments.
  • Diversity and quality in provision – more care capacity in the care system, reducing the time people must wait to find support, particularly in hard to reach (often rurally isolated) areas.

The report recognises however, that the legislative and regulatory framework within which micro-enterprises operate in health and social care is complex, ever-changing and designed for traditional provision. To access the report visit:
https://www.local.gov.uk/pip-cannons-chief-executive-and-helen-allen-director-community-enterprise-community-catalysts


UK Landlines are going digital by 2027, what it means for telecare users

Landlines in the UK are going digital, and by 2027 most calls will be made over a broadband line.

This is part of an industry-wide change to retire the old and increasingly fragile analogue technology which has supported phone and broadband services for decades.

For most customers, the switch to BT’s new home phone service, Digital Voice, will be as simple as plugging your home phone handset to a router rather than the phone socket on the wall.

Supporting customers every step of the way

Initially, BT is focusing on switching customers who are least impacted by the move to Digital Voice, including those who do not use their landlines or telecare devices. Customers who are ready to make the switch will be contacted at least four weeks in advance.  

BT is taking extra time and will provide additional support to customers who identify as vulnerable or with additional needs to ensure they are ready to move to a digital landline.

From the Autumn, BT will offer a dedicated landline service for customers who do not have broadband, allowing them to use their landline in the same way they do today until 2030 or once a digital solution becomes available. No one will be left without a working phone line.

BT is working closely with local authorities and telecare providers, to identify phone lines with telecare devices, so they can ensure the right support is in place for these customers. If you have a telecare device, care pendant or alarm connected, you’ll need to speak to your equipment provider, and also let BT know.

Keeping rural communities connected

Your Digital Voice service needs power to make calls. If there’s a power cut, customers are advised to use a mobile phone if they’re able to do so.  

If mobile is not an option, battery back-up units are available for purchase. For customers who have disclosed any additional needs, BT will provide a free battery back-up unit, on request.  

BT is also working closely with the power companies to establish processes which help them to restore power as quickly as possible.?

It’s estimated that around 1% of BT’s landline customers’ premises currently have insufficient mobile signal to make an emergency call. This number is reducing as BT continues to invest in wider rural coverage through its EE network. Working with the government under a programme called the Shared Rural Network, mobile networks will cover 95% of the UK by the mid-2020s.

Ensuring no one is left behind

BT understand that for many, particularly those with additional needs, the landline is a lifeline, and they want to be sure everyone remains connected.

They encourage any customers with any concerns or if they identify as vulnerable and haven’t told them about their circumstances to get in touch, 0330 1234 150.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/digital-voice


Research on global core curriculum for remote and rural health care practitioners

The National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine are undertaking some research to determine whether it might be possible to achieve a global core curriculum for the training of remote and rural health care practitioners. The Centre presented this at WONCA in Sydney last year and have already received interest from five continents. To make this as inclusive and representative as possible, the Centre are looking for expressions of interest from as wide a global footprint as possible.

The study is using the Delphi method to try and achieve a consensus opinion and would be undertaken purely online by e mail. The questions used have been informed by workshops of rural practitioners at two rural conferences. It is estimated there will be three rounds of questions, each of which might take up to an hour to answer.

If you or any of your colleagues or networks would be happy to receive a formal invitation to take part together with further information about the study (no commitment involved at this stage) then please email Prof Cathy Jackson, Pro Vice Chancellor at cjackson19@uclan.ac.uk  All contributors will be acknowledged in any future publications resulting from the work.


We’d love to hear from you - share what you’re proud of
If you have something, you would like us to feature in a future edition, please let us know by clicking here to send us an email.


Spread the word
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RURAL SERVICES NETWORK

Up to date news on Health and Care
The Rural Services Network provides a useful source of themed news content and data. Check out the latest news on Health & Wellbeing and Vulnerability, where you’ll find articles on a diverse range of rural issues affecting rural communities. You might also find this research on Over 65 Population Projections useful too.

Latest from RSN Member Insights
RSN Member Insights is the place to discover the statistics that define communities within our membership.  It is regularly updated with new analyses, and these will be highlighted in the 'What's New' section of the RSN's Weekly Rural Bulletin. The Rural Bulletin also provides a selection of the most rurally topical news items, so do subscribe and encourage your colleagues to subscribe to what is an invaluable weekly periodical.

To make a suggestion of data that would benefit you by being included in the Member Insights section, please email Dan Worth, our Research and Performance Analyst, at dan.worth@sparse.gov.uk.

The Rural Health & Care Alliance is a membership organisation administered by the Rural Services Network on behalf of the National Centre for Rural Health & Care

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