Providing healthcare for people in remote and rural areas is a priority for The Scottish Government. The COVID-19 pandemic meant lots of changes were made in the way healthcare appointments were provided. We want to explore the public’s perspectives on accessing and receiving healthcare in rural areas across Grampian during the pandemic and how these are changing the experience of rural and remote healthcare.
We will be exploring topics such as eHealth technologies, access to face-to-face appointments and ongoing care, to better understand the experiences, differences and changes to medical care for people living in rural areas of Scotland.
We are looking to collect insights on people’s experiences through focus groups, and interviews.
If so, we’d love to hear from you. We’d like to know, for example:
- What issues do we need to be aware of?
- What does rural mean to you?
- What are barriers to healthcare in rural places?
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed access to healthcare for you?
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This study has been approved by the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition Ethics Review Board, Reference number SERB/2021/10/2185
Project Team: Andrew S. Maclaren, Louise Locock, Zoë Skea, Philip Wilson, Diane Skåtun
I live in a village. I consider our location to be rural, but not remote.
During lockdown I used telephone consultation with my GP practice as well as attending for screening (smear). I have had no problem accessing appropriate care.
Members of my family have been surprised at changed dental services but were able to get care.
I also work in healthcare.
I live in a hamlet between Stonehaven and Banchory, so rural vs. remote and there is usually a 5 mile drive to a doctor or dentist. I used online triage/telephone during the early part of the pandemic for a skin complaint, so using image upload ahead of a discussion. I also used home blood pressure monitoring (via dedicated form) and had a telephone review after submitting results online. More recently, I have used online video call physio as I was unable to drive due to unscheduled knee surgery. It's all worked really well! I am a participant in a COVID vaccine trial too and as part of that was offered home testing from the trial team if displaying symptoms. I work in health research and am an early adopter of digital health tech/research digital health.