Views sought on how the pandemic has affected rural healthcare in Grampian

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen are looking for people who live in rural Grampian to give their views on accessing and receiving healthcare.

The team of researchers from the University’s Institute of Applied Health Sciences are looking at how healthcare was delivered in rural areas pre-pandemic and want to find out how the pandemic has affected these remote communities.

The NHS Grampian funded project is driven by the Scottish Government’s pledge to provide appropriate healthcare provision for people in remote and rural areas.

Dr Andrew Maclaren from the Health Services Research Unit, who is leading the project, explains: “Rural areas face multiple challenges when it comes to accessing healthcare. Dispersed populations, difficulties in the recruitment and retention of medical professionals, problems with internet connectivity, and longer distances to health centres are just a few of the unique issues that remote healthcare providers face.

“With this project we hope to hear from individuals who face these challenges so we can improve services in the future.”

Dr Maclaren adds: “The pandemic meant lots of changes were made in the way healthcare appointments were provided and we want to explore the public’s perspectives on accessing and receiving healthcare in rural areas across Grampian pre and post-pandemic.

“We are looking to collect insights on individuals’ experiences through focus groups, and interviews and will be exploring topics such as eHealth technologies, access to face-to-face appointments and ongoing care.

“For example, we want to hear about the issues that healthcare providers should be aware of, what are the problems in accessing healthcare in rural places, and of course, how the pandemic has changed access to healthcare.

“We hope that by gathering these insights from the people that use the services, the service delivery will be improved and any disparities between the health of those who live in urban and rural communities can be addressed.”

Individuals can comment on the online blog. If you are interested in being interviewed, or would like more information, email Dr Andrew Maclaren.