The launch of a new National Center in Scotland will reduce health inequalities and improve the delivery of healthcare services in rural communities, the Scottish government announced today (Friday, September 8).
The National Center for Remote and Rural Health and Care is expected to launch next month and will seek to improve the capability of remote, rural and island primary care and enhance the delivery of community-based services.
The center will be supported by funding of £3 million from 2023-2026. NHS Education for Scotland will lead work to establish the center with an initial focus on the provision of primary care.
The center will work with NHS boards virtually and locally to improve rural workforce and retention and develop new and innovative services to help deliver better results for patients.
It will look at innovative ways to upskill staff to help ensure people receive care as close to home as possible, the government said.
Announcing the plans, Health Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Rural and island communities have their own unique challenges when it comes to providing high quality healthcare.
“It is therefore essential that we do everything we can to make sure that these challenges are properly considered and addressed.
“Establishing this center is a significant undertaking and will help us ensure that people living in rural communities can receive the care they need close to home.”
Matheson said he expects the center to start by identifying approaches to improve rural primary care staff recruitment and develop the skills of remote and rural staff.
“We hope these measures will increase capacity to deliver care close to home for patients and ensure healthcare inequalities some rural communities currently face are significantly reduced,” he said.