Doubt over plan for 'rural practitioners' in Wales

The Welsh Assembly government has launched the country's first ever rural health plan.

Ms Hart: new expert group will advise on the development of the first ever rural health plan

Health minister Edwina Hart announced the plans, which include a new ‘rural practitioner' role.

These are multi-skilled professionals who provide NHS and social care across rural communities.

As yet, it is unclear whether the rural practitioners will be nurses, GPs or social workers and what training they will require.

These details will be finalised as the plan takes shape in the new year.

A spokesperson for the devolved government said: ‘The role of the rural practitioner is being determined as part of the implementation plan.'

The plan also calls for a network of pharmacies in rural areas, increased use of telehealth to prevent patients travelling long distances for routine checks and a rural health innovation fund.

Ms Hart said that an expert group is to be created to advise on the development of the plan in the new year.

She added: ‘The geography of Wales poses special challenges in providing effective healthcare for people in rural communities. This plan looks at how the health needs of these communities can be met in ways which reflect the conditions and characteristics of rural Wales.'

Neil Durham

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