The first Rural Health and Care Wales conference was held at the Royal Welsh showground in Builth Wells, Powys on Tuesday 14th November 2017. Dr Chris Jones, interim Chair of the newly formed Health Education and Improvement Wales, conducted the official opening, with around 180 delegates in attendance.
The conference was a resounding success, with plenary presentations by Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust, on “Acute Medicine in Rural Areas”; Louise Patten, Chief Officer of the Aylesbury Vale CCG & Chiltern CCG Federation, on “Reducing costs through integrating health and social care services”, and Dr Peter Saul from the Wales Deanery on “The Recruitment and Training of Rural GPs”.
Commenting on Peter Saul’s presentation, co-Chair Dr Ruth Hall stated that “the perspectives given on recruiting and training medics for rural practice, which included the wider impacts of issues such as transport, language and peoples’ perceptions of rurality, were extremely relevant and appreciated by the audience”.
The day’s busy schedule provided delegates with the option of attending 4 presentations out of a possible 16, covering a broad range of rural health and social care issues that ranged from innovative community care practices, green and blue prescribing, dementia in rural areas, telehealth and much more (see RHCW Conference Agenda).
A competition was held for the best poster on display at the conference, with the winning prize going to Dr Alan Stone from Cardiff University School of Medicine for his poster on “Hospital or Community? Can community placements deliver the same learning experience as traditional hospital blocks?” In second place was Erika Cowie and Tracy Sandell from Hywel Dda University Health Board for their poster on “A Key for Recruitment and Retention”, and in third place was Dr Sue Fish from Cambrian Primary Care for her poster depicting “The Implementation of a Teledermatolgy Referral Service For All GP Referrals From North Ceredigion To The Consultant Dermatologist In University Hospital Of Wales, Cardiff”.
The day concluded with a Panel of experts responding to an open question and answer session from the floor, the Panel consisting of Sue Darnbrook, Strategic Director for Care, Protection and Lifestyle with Ceredigion County Council, Dr Phil Kloer, Executive Medical Director and Director of Clinical Strategy with Hywel Dda University Health Board, Carol Shillabeer, Chief Executive of Powys Teaching Health Board, and Dr Evan Moore, Medical Director for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
Feedback received was extremely positive, with plans afoot to build on its success and make the conference an annual event. A copy of the feedback and evaluations received can be found here: RHCW Conference 2017 Evaluation and Feedback Report
Copies of Presentations
Copies of the Plenary presentations:
Ain’t no mountain high enough….a systematic review of literature regarding rural healthcare, with a focus on recruitment and retention of the health and social care workforce in the Mid Wales region, Jo Creasey