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A pioneering new centre to improve health and care in rural areas across the UK is being formally launched in Lincolnshire.
The National Centre for Rural Health and Care, 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 to launch and start work to bring about improvements in healthcare delivery in rural settings, through research, better use of data, workforce developments and improved technology.
It is now formally established as a Community Interest Company and has a clear strategic vision and business plan.
It brings together expertise from many sectors, including the NHS, the University of Lincoln, Lincolnshire County Council, the East Midlands Academic Heath Service Network, Health Education England and Public Health England.
The centre will be formally launched at an event at Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June.
This will include a keynote speech by Bishop of Manchester David Walker, who has a strong commitment to rural issues.
A chairman has been appointed to lead the work of the centre.
Richard Parrish CBE is a biologist by background with a special interest in population biology. Dr Parrish has worked in public health or higher education for most of his professional life.
He 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.
“My thanks go to Jan Sobieraj, Chief Executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, for taking forward the concept and making today’s launch a reality.
“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.
“We’ve already won some important research looking into future health care workforce needs in rural settings which will report this summer.
“We’ve also achieved support for a cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry into rural health and social care, being established by Anne Marie Morris MP.
“This would provide some very high-profile national interest in the issues faced in delivering rural healthcare, helping to further and develop our work on a national level.”
The launch of the centre is generously supported by the Greater Lincolnshire LEP Growth Hub.
For more information about the centre, see www.ncrhc.org.
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