Rural Resilience in Health and Care, communities and individuals
The annual Rural Health and Care Wales conference, “Rural Resilience in Health and Care, communities and individuals”, was held on the Royal Welsh showground in Builth Wells on Tuesday 5th November and Wednesday 6th November 2019. The Rt. Honourable Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister of Wales, conducted the official opening by video link, with Jack Evershed and Professor Vivienne Harpwood Chairing events and Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services, also contributing to proceedings on the second day. The very successful event welcomed over 220 delegates, with it being the first time the Conference had been held over the extended two day period. There were over 24 presentations made on rural health and care research projects and initiatives over the two days, with presentations from across Wales and Scotland, and as far afield as the USA and Australia.
Plenary presentations on the first day were provided by Dr Tom Lawson, Postgraduate Medical Dean with Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), followed by Dr Keith Sutton from the School of Rural Health in Monash University, Australia and then Ceredigion Youth Service’s Tom Evans, who has been recognised as an Outstanding Youth Work Volunteer and gave a very emotive account of depression in young people. The first day’s proceedings closed with an uplifting session by the Tenovus Choir from Llanidloes, with Dr Lisa Whittaker firstly explaining the science behind singing and its positive impact on wellbeing.
The second day started with a mindfulness session from Dr Julia Wallond, a GP from Dyfi Valley Health, followed by an account of the skills needed for a healthier Wales, delivered by Dr Ruth Hall, an experienced rural GP and independent board member of HEIW. A truly inspirational talk was then given by Dr Karen Sankey, who outlined the amazing Community Care Collaborative initiative that is based in Wrexham and offers a multi-agency service to homeless people, drawing together GPs, podiatrists, the Department for Works and Pensions, working with the Salvation Army and other third sector organisations.
The afternoon of the second day focussed on the farming sector and, in particular, the mental health issues that are facing this group, with Gareth Davies from Tir Dewi presenting the final Plenary of the day. This followed a brilliant presentation by nurse Anne Thomas on the work she and Edna Jones are doing in the farmers marts in Gwynedd and a recent report by Public Health Wales on the health challenges facing the agricultural community in Wales. Social Prescribing was also a hot topic for the second day, with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and Powys Teaching Health Board reporting on their collaborative wellbeing project that encourages outdoor activities - just one of a range of presentations given on this new area of development in health.
An excellent display of high-quality research posters was on view, with delegates voting for the quality of research, its relevance to rural health and care, the design and attractiveness of the poster and future implications of the research undertaken. The award for best poster went to Hywel Dda’s School Nurse Claire Tregear for her poster on “Self-harm and Building Resilience”. Second place went to Betsi Cadwaladr’s Anne Thomas and Edna Jones for their poster on “Supporting Farmers’ Health and Wellbeing in a Rural Community” and third place went to Jen Roberts, a research officer with Bangor University, for her poster on “Dementia in rural settings: Exploring the first-hand experiences of people living with dementia and care-givers”.
Feedback from the Conference has been extremely positive, with great support to maintain this annual event that is increasingly popular and well received, with a growing international appeal.
COPIES OF PRESENTATIONS:
Copies of Plenary Presentations:
Tuesday 5th November 2019
Dr Keith Sutton, Lecturer, School of Rural Health, Monash University – Gippsland Mental Health Vacation School: a brief evidence informed approach to attracting health professional students to rural practice
Wednesday 6th November 2019
PAPER PRESENTATIONS – Tuesday 5th November 2019
PAPER PRESENTATIONS – Wednesday 6th November 2019
Small Steps – evaluating the mental health and wellbeing benefits associated with outdoor activities in Brecon Beacon National Park and informing the development of ‘’green health’’ services in Powys, Tania Dolley
Art for Health’s Sake, Pod Clare - no presentation available
Using consensus methods to develop a Social Prescribing Learning Needs Framework for Wales, Dr Carolyn Wallace - presentation to follow