Step in the right direction to meet rural health needs

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has welcomed plans to establish a national institute for remote and rural medicine and health care practices.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 4:19 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd April 2021, 4:42 pm
Rural health services are set to improve

Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed work will start soon on the creation of a rural health care commission as the Scottish Parliament went into recess.

Mr Carson first called for rural proofing back in 2015 and raised the issue repeatedly at Holyrood.

Mr Carson, who is standing for relection in May, said: “It is wonderful news the Scottish Government has finally realised the need to create such a body that will ensure fairness and equality in rural health services.

“I was delighted to contribute to the petitions committee that ultimately saw it being unanimously supported by all sides to be considered by the next parliament.

“Now the Scottish health secretary has confirmed that work is now underway to establish a national institute for remote and rural medicine and health care practices. This is a major step forward.”

Mr Carson has been a strong supporter of the petition raised by Dr Gordon Baird on behalf of the Galloway Community Hospital Action Group calling for a new body to oversee the healthcare needs of rural Scotland.

He added: “I fully recognise the need to ensure equity and fairness in the provision of rural health services.

“This equity covers appropriate cancer treatment pathways with patients being kept fully informed of the choices available to them.

“Unfortunately in the past this has not always been the case with some patients having to travel hundreds of miles.

“I have always maintained an agency that advocates on health care needs for rural Scotland would be a welcome step in that direction – and now, thankfully, it has moved a step closer.”

Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie who has previously advised the Scottish Government on health issues had been involved at examining remote and rural medicine needs.

Ms Freeman said: “Work is now underway to establish a national institute for remote and rural medicine and health care practices and this will be put in place as soon as possible by the next Scottish Government.”