DDA member the Fownhope Medical Centre has been applauded in the House of Lords for its participation in the Compassionate Community Scheme. This is a scheme that matches people up with those who need company.
In a new report on the rural economy, Select Committee Lords highlight how rural GPs have a key role in tackling the problem of loneliness, isolation and associated mental health issues in rural areas. The scheme in Fownhope has 18 companions who make weekly or fortnightly visits based on referrals from the medical centre.
The report also highlights access to services as “a particular challenge”. During a visit to Herefordshire, Lords were told of the large number of Fownhope surgery patients living in isolated locations. “Community Transport Schemes… are not able to respond at short notice to assist all patients in need of transport, meaning many people are dependent on taxis,” the report notes.
Representatives from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that the ageing society in rural communities could be supported by “new technologies for improving quality of treatment and [to] speed up access to new medicine.”
Public Health England added that it was working to develop a metric for loneliness in Public Health Outcomes