A PUBLIC meeting to discuss concerns about the future of rural healthcare in Richmondshire will be attended by William Hague MP.

Mr Hague will address the meeting in Richmond Town Hall on Friday (January 10) and answer questions from members of the public on issues such as the future of healthcare services for older people and funding plans for rural GPs practices.

There will also be four other senior health care professionals at the meeting: Jo Harding, lead nurse and senior delivery manager, and Dr Mark Hodgson, GP and governing body member, both of the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group; Geoff Day, head of primary care, and Julie Warren, director of commissioning, both for the NHS North Yorkshire and Humber area team.

Loading article content

Mr Hague said: “Providing healthcare services in rural areas, where it can be a long way to the nearest doctor and conditions are often very difficult, especially during the winter, has always been challenging.

“I have consistently called on health officials, at local and national level, to recognise these unique difficulties when planning services.

“People living in rural communities are just as entitled as those living in urban areas to a full range of care delivered to the highest standard.

“I regularly make that argument to health officials in London and recently led a delegation to meet the Health Secretary to discuss the implications for rural GPs practices of the planned withdrawal of the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee.

“I am very keen that my constituents have the opportunity to discuss the future of rural healthcare services with the officials responsible for delivering them. And that is why I am very pleased that Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG and NHS England have agreed to send representatives to the meeting.

“This is an excellent opportunity for people to voice their points of view and to hear what the CCG and NHS England have to say about healthcare services in rural areas and I encourage as many as are able to attend.”

The meeting follows a decision made by Richmondshire District Council last summer which supported Mr Hague who had stated that rural health services are under great pressure. The decision – which was unanimously supported by members – called upon the MP to ‘continue to press for the maintenance of the essential healthcare services necessary for all the communities he represents to thrive.’