Our new report – Rural Communities – is out now and looks at the challenges to accessing health and social care information and services for rural communities.
A multi-method approach was undertaken to identify the barriers and challenges faced by a rural community in North Yorkshire. The study looked at the Great Wold Valley area, located in Ryedale.
A survey and engagement events were implemented to gather feedback from members of the community, with further interviews conducted to gather experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aim was to gather information from people in the community and identify how members in the community received health and social care information, and their preferred method of receiving such information.
- People feel more informed about health and social care services in the local area than services located further afield.
- Most information is accessed through local sources, such as local media or word-of mouth.
- Transport is vital for accessing health and social care services especially for older people.
- Lack of reliable bus services discourages use and prevents people from accessing services.
- Despite a strong sense of community spirit there are feelings of isolation that permeate in rural communities.
- COVID-19 has highlighted the key, evident barriers that exist for people in rural communities.
Healthwatch North Yorkshire are sharing this report with local health and social care leads.
The findings will stimulate conversations between the public and providers and hopefully improve access to information and services for people living in rural communities.