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University receives funding boost from RARARI for rural patient morbidity research

Date: 9 October 2000
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A grant totalling over £140,000 from the Remote and Rural Area Resources Initiative (RARARI), a Scottish Executive Health Department Scheme, is set to extend knowledge about health in rural areas and has been successfully secured by a collaboration based at the University of Aberdeen.

The ‘Rural-Urban Morbidity Recording: Pilot Project in Argyll and Clyde’ is a three-year project and is aimed at developing knowledge about rural healthcare.

A steering group consisting of staff from the University of Aberdeen Departments of Management and General Practice, as well as NHS personnel, will manage funding for this project which is one of a portfolio being funded by RARARI to develop initiative and knowledge-based health services for rural areas.

Dr Jane Farmer, Department of Management Studies, who will lead the project, said: “The project aims to extend the number and range of types of rural practices, who record morbidity data through the NHS in Scotland CMR (Continuous Morbidity Recording) Project.  This will enhance data available for research and service planning in rural areas.  The funding will also enable urban/rural comparisons and development of area profiling of different types of location.
Dr Farmer added: “Part of our research will use CMR facilities as a building block for the collection of additional data.  We aim to conduct a population survey to look at broader determinants of health, including socio-economic status, wellbeing, social inclusion and access to health and leisure services.”

Recent reports from the Scottish Executive Health Department have highlighted the need for accurate information about health status, the factors associated with health inequalities and primary care workload in rural areas.  This is required to information service planning, resource allocation and research.  The Continuous Morbidity Recording (CMR) Project currently collects data about doctor-patient contacts including diagnosis, symptoms and type of contact from 75 general practices in Scotland, but only three practices are in rural locations with low population density and none of these practices cover the Hebrides or the West coast mainland.

The funding of this project will improve data availability and will provide rich data for rural and urban comparisons within the Argyll and Clyde Health Board area.

The project is due to begin in February 2001.  During the initial few months rural practices in the Argyll and Clyde Health Board area will be recruited to record data on GP and nursing patient contacts.   The NHS Information and Statistics Division will provide training, support materials, helpline and quality assurance systems for practices.

As data is gathered over the course of the project, it will become increasingly possible to produce analyses of, for example, incidence and prevalence of illness, and workload associated with health conditions.

RARARI was set up by the NHS in Scotland to develop healthcare systems and support for professional staff in the remote and rural parts of Scotland.


Further information:

University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email