Well served healthy places2024-05-15T14:59:26+00:00

Well served, healthy places

Rural residents should receive the care they need, whatever their circumstances.

People living in the countryside can find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing health and social care. This is because these services tend to be centralised in more built-up areas and getting to them may require travel.

At the same time, older people make up a significantly larger proportion of the population of rural areas and this can increase the demands placed on services such as social care.

Health and social care providers do, of course, provide outreach services. However, these need to be properly funded, integrated, and responsive to the needs of local communities.

ACRE members support a range of community-led initiatives which promote health and wellbeing.

Good neighbour schemes are commonplace and during the beginning of the pandemic they were instrumental in supporting more vulnerable residents. Some of our members also work with service providers locally to offer social prescribing which informally addresses individual’s needs by linking them in with local support and activities. Others run outreach coffee clubs to reduce isolation or operate community transport schemes to make sure vulnerable residents get to appointments.

On aggregate, their work helps to make healthier places by encouraging a culture of neighbourliness and connecting people up with the services and support they need.

Much more can be done to improve access to health and social care in rural communities.

First and foremost, we want government to commit to a fair funding formula that recognises and meets the additional costs of delivering services in rural areas. For example, non-emergency transport needs to be better resourced to account for the cost of patients getting to appointments, often in areas where there is no reliable bus service.

Digital applications too may reduce the need for people to travel, however these will only work if connectivity is improved, and people know how to use them.

View our specific policy recommendations for the next government here.

ACRE Member Case Study – Feeding Derbyshire

Listen to those involved in Feeding Derbyshire; a scheme coordinated by ACRE Network member Rural Action Derbyshire alleviating food poverty across the county and in particular with harder to reach rural residents