DDA Chairman Dr Richard West has joined the Rural Services Network in a critique of DEFRA’s second report on rural proofing.
Delivering for rural England lists a range of measures said to address the challenges of delivering health care in a rural setting. These include:
- Pharmacy Access Scheme
- NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service
- Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme
- Integrated Care Strategies.
Noting that the DEFRA report makes no mention of dispensing GPs, Dr West commented: “Rural practices know that the NHS has not rural proofed its policies. None of the recent initiatives, like the expansion of referral by GPs to services by pharmacists, are possible for rural dispensing patients. The DDA believes that rural proofing must be introduced by DHSC and NHS England.”
The DEFRA report also references plans to improve rural transport through measures such as demand-responsive transport; digital and multi-modal ticketing; e-bikes and e-scooters; drones for delivery; and connected and self-driving vehicles.
The Rural Services Network, which champions rural service providers, says the report offers no explanation of how/if issues were/will be rural proofed. Its review of the DEFRA document states: “It is essential that proper, effective and transparent rural proofing of the legislation, and the delivery, is in place across government and that policies are nuanced to ensure that rural areas can both benefit from the proposals and contribute to the recovery and well-being of the nation. Local delivery to meet local needs is essential.”
The DDA is a member of the Rural Services Network.