The Cumbria Rural Health Forum came into being following a conference in September 2013 entitled 'What does good healthcare look like in a rural area?' The event was held on the western edge of Cumbria’s Lake District and was arranged by the University of Cumbria and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
In April 2014, we received funding from the Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria and support from around 30 member organisations to launch the Forum formally. As part of this funding, we are developing a Cumbria Strategy for Digital Technologies in Health and Social Care, alongside a knowledge base in ‘what makes good rural health and social care?
Providing effective healthcare services into rural areas can be a challenge. Primary Care, Public Health agencies, Physical Health, Mental Health and Children’s Health providers all face particular issues in ensuring service-users in rural areas have access to services as and when they need them.
If you have information, case-studies, links, ideas and best practice that you’d like to share on this website then we’d like to hear from you. You can use the form on the contact page to send information or website links.
Members and terms of reference
The Forum membership is open to any organisation who supports our terms of reference, delivers or supports health and social care in Cumbria, or has an interest in our work. Our current membership list can be found here.
Our main focus at present is development of the Cumbria Strategy for Digital Technologies in Health and Social Care.
We are currently running two studies which investigate how digital technologies can enhance healthcare in rural communities from a doctor and patient perspective. Both studies have been granted ethics approval by the University of Cumbria Research Ethics Committee. The first study is titled "Think like a GP, work like a robot - a qualitative study on primary care workload". The study aims to identify factors in patient engagement that general practitioners perceive to be achievable by using remote consultation. In other words, how GPs feel about using a remote technology in working with their patients. More information is available here.
The second study, "Let's get digital", looks at how people with long term health conditions think and feel about the use of technology in health management. People living in rural communities have to travel considerable distances to access medical care. Therefore the study aims to gain an understanding of current remote technologies and the relevance of these technologies in the care and support of people with long term health conditions from a patient’s point of view. Click here to read the information sheet.