Improving access and engagement for rural and coastal communities, March 2024

Health inequalities webinar, held on 25 March 2024.

The webinar explored how trusts and systems are improving access to health services in rural areas, engaging with coastal communities, and improving recruitment and retention of NHS staff in rural and coastal areas. 


Find the presentation slides here.


Hear Nigel Edwards share an overview of the National Centre for Rural Health and Care, including their mission to build a movement to address inequalities in the provision of rural health and care. Nigel also reflected on key inequalities faced by rural and coastal areas, and what trusts can do to address these.


Hear Gillian Pearson provide an overview of rurality challenges in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and their Health Inequalities Ambassador Initiative. Gillian also discusses Herefordshire's prevention service 'Talk Wellbeing'. She shares how it supports the integrated care system's Health & Wellbeing strategy and Health Inequalities strategy, and how the service removes access barriers through tailored outreach and integrated approaches.


Hear Jane Thomas share their Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust's role in addressing health inequalities, what actions they are currently implementing (such as appointing a board lead for health inequalities and creating an oversight group), and what they plan to do going forward (such as risk appetite work to address health inequalities).

Listen to Gillian and Jane's Q&A to hear delegates ask questions on:


Hear Heather Catt discuss the anchor framework for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Heather shares why they wanted to create an anchor framework co-designed with communities; how they worked with communities, engaged with staff and partners, and created a co-produced framework; how their framework tackled employment, procurement, environment, buildings and assets, and partnerships; and the lessons learnt, including taking approaches that have breadth and depth.

Listen to Heather's Q&A to hear delegates ask questions on:


Hear Claire Flavell share the demographics of Lincolnshire, their communities challenges (including healthcare access and digital exclusion), and their NHS workforce challenges. Claire shares NHS Lincolnshire Talent Academy's approach to recruiting and retaining a rural and coastal workforce, such as working with local schools, partnership working with local job centres and community groups, and implementing new entry points into the sector. She also provides an overview of their place strategy which includes delivering hospitals hubs, local engagement and community expansion. Finally, Claire provides examples of how they have removed employment barriers for certain groups, including apprenticeships for young people and a 'reservists' programme aimed at retired workers, those that need flexible working, previous NHS employees, young people and many more.

Listen to Claire's Q&A to hear delegates ask questions on:


Listen to the panel Q&A, where delegates asked questions on:



Nigel Edwards – chair, National Centre for Rural Health and Care


Gillian Pearson – associate PCN director of prevention, partnerships and     transformation, Taurus Healthcare Limited / Herefordshire General Practice

Jane Thomas – head of patient and public engagement, experience, and participation, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Heather Catt – consultant in public health, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Claire Flavell – strategic lead, NHS Lincolnshire Talent Academy and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust