Rural communities micro-study: information and access to health and social care

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch North Yorkshire carried out a microstudy examining how living in a rural community creates challenges in accessing health and social care services and information.  They used interviews, engagement events and a survey to gain the views of people living in rural areas. Altogether they spoke to 67 people.

People feel more informed about local health and care services than national services, and most information is sourced through the local media or by word-of-mouth.

Transport is vital for accessing health and care services. One of the biggest concerns, as people get older, is the lack of access to transport. The lack of regular or reliable transport discourages use.

There is a strong sense of community in rural areas, which includes community groups and volunteering, who offer advice, support and information to the local population

The engagement for this project spanned the pandemic.  They found that the Covid-19 pandemic created barriers for people accessing information, reinforced the fragility of transport in local communities, and limited the ability for community groups to share information.

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General details

Report title 
Rural communities micro-study: information and access to health and social care
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch North Yorkshire
Date of publication 
Friday, 16 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 20 January, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 31 December, 2020
Key themes 
Health inequalities
Information providing
Quality of patient transport

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
Structured interview
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Other population characteristics 
People who are geographically isolated
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.