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Information hub for The National Centre for Remote and Rural Health and Care.


The Scottish Government have commissioned NHS Education for Scotland (NES) to be the strategic delivery partner for the National Centre for Remote and Rural Health and Care, due to launch in Autumn 2023.

The Centre, which will be both virtual and local and so available to all communities, will bring improvements to rural workforce and retention, develop a more highly skilled workforce and design innovative delivery models that drive reform and lead to better results for patients.

The Centre will work to improve the capability of remote, rural and island Primary Care and community-based service delivery, providing a resource to support Health Boards and Health and Social Care partnerships in their responsibilities and drive essential improvements in sustainability.

It will strengthen a range of rural Primary Care services, including General Practitioners and dispensing practises. The Scottish Government have committed £3.03m over 2023 – 2026 with a focus on Primary Care as an initial proof of concept. The aim is that the learning generated from this work will be shared to benefit other healthcare services in all areas of Scotland.

The Remote and Rural GP Working Group proposed the National Centre in their Shaping the Future together report in 2020. In 2021 it became a Programme for Government Commitment. The group, led by Sir Lewis Ritchie, identified key enablers to address the specific issues in rural areas.

NES Chief Executive Professor Karen Reid said:
 “The National Centre will support delivery of improved care for remote, rural and island communities. It will reduce health and wellbeing inequalities through focused work to improve the sustainability, capacity, and capability of the remote, rural and island primary care and community-based healthcare workforce and the vital services they deliver to people living in these communities across Scotland.”

NES will work closely with stakeholders to develop the Centre to serve all Scotland’s remote, rural and island populations, harnessing innovation, avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach to local healthcare challenges and making use of virtual networks and existing community spaces.

Our delivery plan outlines a cost effective yet flexible approach to address priority areas through partnership working and co-creation. It reflects feedback from community representatives, Health Boards, Primary Care teams, Third sector partners, Health and Social Care Partnerships, universities, local and Scottish Government. It reduces duplication and provides a way to achieve tangible results and maximise efficiencies. It takes a whole system approach to improvement and change. It builds on the excellent learning and legacy of previous remote and rural healthcare programmes of work, innovation, research and resources from various partners - all aimed at attaining the desired health improvement outcomes in a sustainable and measurable way.

The Centre’s work will position Scotland as a world leader in delivering and sharing excellence in supporting the existing and future remote and rural multi-disciplinary workforce with the necessary skills to support communities’ health needs, manage future scenarios and deliver change to improve health and care services for remote, rural and island communities.

This excellence in the design, delivery, and evaluation of services will be achieved through investment in improved remote and rural  health and care research, education, leadership, practice, recruitment, and retention programmes that make a real difference.