Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has welcomed the news that an NHS Review will look specifically at the issue of rural funding and use practices in the area as a case study, as Tim had requested.
Following the recent announcement that an NHS review would look into funding for practices with 'atypical' populations, Tim wrote to NHS England's Head of Primary Care Commissioning to ask for South Lakeland to be included in it as a case study of practices in rural areas. Tim has long campaigned for a fairer funding deal for rural surgeries, and also renewed his calls for the establishment of a 'Strategic Small Surgeries Fund' to assist those based in rural areas.
In a response to Tim's letter, it was confirmed that of three areas which the General Practitioners Committee have agreed to prioritise, one is 'extreme rurality/remoteness'. It was also agreed that the review will use the Lakes practices as a case study, as Tim had requested. The review will examine the additional costs of providing GP care to remote and dispersed populations, and it is hoped that guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups will be made available in the next six months.
Tim said: "This reply is extremely encouraging. GP surgeries in rural areas do not have the same economies of scale as elsewhere, but they are absolutely vital for the communities that rely on them.
"I am pleased that the additional costs of providing services in very rural areas will be looked at by this review, and that practices in our area will be used as a case study for the challenges that are faced. I look forward to hearing the results of this review, and the conclusions it comes to."
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