There needs to be more robust consideration of the impact of policy and strategic decisions on remote and rural communities, to maximise any benefits for remote and rural areas. The North of Scotland Public Health Network (NoSPHN) Remote, Rural and Island Health Proofing Checklist provides a tool to look at policy and strategic planning and developments through a remote, rural and island lens. There should be requirement to adopt this approach cross-system early in the policy/ strategic development cycle to inform decisions. For example the introduction of CTAC clinics in different locations to the GP surgery adds to the challenges of patients accessing services. Full remote and rural proofing of HSCP Primary Care Improvement Plan Policy may have mitigated how this negatively affects remote and rural communities.
20% of Scotland's population lives in remote & rural areas. 98% of Scotland's landmass is designated as remote & rural. These facts alone surely make it incumbent on Scottish Government to ensure that rural communities are not adversely affected by centralised policy, and that some areas of concern/need are prioritised for resource/consideration. Other countries offer some great models of rural proofing that Scotland could learn a lot from. I explained more about this when I gave evidence on behalf of the Rural GP Association of Scotland to your Committee in 2019, you watch what I said here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHaqgfyuZuo&t=8936s
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