Image of a GP surgery in the Shetland Islands depicting rural healthcare for NHS Scotland

NHS Scotland: New national centre to tackle rural health inequalities

The Scottish Government is set to narrow health inequalities as it announces next month’s anticipated launch of the National Centre for Remote and Rural Health and Care.

Backed by £3m over the next three years, the new centre will focus on improving the provision of primary care services in remote, rural and island areas. It will also look to enhance community services.

“I expect the centre to start by identifying approaches to improve rural primary care staff recruitment and develop the skills of remote and rural staff,” said Scottish health secretary, Michael Matheson.

The plans were highlighted in the programme for government 2023 to 2024 that was published last week.

                                                                    Video credit: Canva

Matheson underlined a number of other commitments in the coming year, including to:

  • Publish the new mental health and wellbeing delivery plan, and accompanying workforce action plan, next autumn
  • Roll out an updated tobacco action plan this autumn
  • Expand the hospital at home initiative and other community-based pathways

Matheson’s statement read: “The actions set out here, led by the establishment of a National Care Service and our commitment to enhancing primary care, not only tackle the issues we face now, but the ones we may face in the future.”

It continued: “They are key steps in achieving our wider objective to reform and renew our health and social care services for decades to come.”

Image credit: iStock

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