Rural proofing for health toolkit

This toolkit has been created to help organisations working in the health and care sector to address the needs of their local rural populations when they develop or review strategies, initiatives and service delivery plans.  It can also be used by non-statutory organisations who review or monitor health and care service provision.

The toolkit recognises that certain characteristics typical of rural areas can prove challenging in terms of improving service provision and service outcomes.  However, it also recognises that rural areas can present opportunities.

The toolkit is based around six main themes:

  • Main hospital services
  • Primary and community health services
  • Mental health services
  • Public health and preventative services
  • Social care services
  • Workforce

Each of the theme sections in the toolkit includes case studies about local service innovation which is improving rural provision.  Each section also suggests other ideas for rural solutions.

Introductory sections at the front end of the toolkit provide further advice about its content and its use, as well as rural statistics.

The toolkit has been researched and written by Rural England CIC, with additional input from the Nuffield Trust and from Sonja Rewhorn.  It was a joint commission with the National Centre for Rural Health & Care.

Please note that the toolkit project was started prior to Covid-19 and it was not produced as a specific response to the pandemic.  However, there is no reason why it could not be used to rural proof service changes being implemented because of the pandemic.