Public asked views on living in rural Devon

PUBLIC consultation launched today (Wednesday) is seeking views on how living in rural areas of Devon impacts on residents abilities to access health care.

PUBLIC consultation launched today (Wednesday) is seeking views on how living in rural areas of Devon impacts on residents' abilities to access health care.

The consultation, by a task group of Devon County Council's Health and Adults' Services Scrutiny Committee, aims to identify how access to health services can be improved in rural areas.

The group wants to know what people think about their access to accident and emergency facilities, services provided at community hospitals, maternity services, remote care, and transportation to health services.

Chairman of the council's task group, Councillor Debo Sellis, said: "Fifty two percent of Devon residents live in rural areas, and we want to see whether the access they have to healthcare can be improved.

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"The key issues for healthcare provision in rural areas include transport and access to appropriate services, the availability of qualified staff, as well as funding and costs to patients.

"Our experience suggests that where there have been reductions in the range and number of service providers, some rural patients are having to travel further distances to access care. Travel is also a decisive factor where some healthcare services have been centralised, causing real difficulties for people without their own transport."

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Anyone interested in taking part in the consultation, and giving evidence to the task group, or would like an information chat or more information, can contact Janine Gassmann, on 01392 384383.

Letters and emails are welcome and can be used as evidence to support this review. Email to or post to Janine Gassmann, Scrutiny Officer, County Hall, Room G36, Topsham Road, Exeter, Devon. EX2 4QD.

All submissions should be received by 1 November 2009. It is anticipated that the task group will report to the Health and Adults' Services Scrutiny Committee in March.

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