Highland health care conference to be held

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A conference is to take place in the Highlands this month to explore new ways of delivering remote health care provision.

The Dewar 2013 Conference is to be held as rural communities are facing significant challenges to recruit and retain GPs, hospital doctors and other professionals.

New models of service delivery for the future are to be debated at the free conference being hosted in Caol, near Fort William, on 19 April.

A wide range of topics will be covered including: ‘Emergency services in remote communities’, ‘First responder schemes’, ‘Technology, transport, recruitment and retention’, ‘Rural transport’, ‘Social capital and community enterprise’ and ‘Telehealth – what works and is it worth the investment?’.

Dr James Douglas, a GP based in Fort William and one of the organisers, said: “We hope the event will stimulate some really original thinking about the future of remote and rural healthcare and how that can contribute to thriving local communities.

“We are keen that as many people as possible participate and would encourage anyone with an interest in remote and rural issues to come along, join the web cast or follow the debate on Twitter.”

The event will be held in Kilmallie Free Church and Community Centre, Caol. It will also be fully web cast to allow anyone to join the discussion remotely.

The Conference is being organised by the Dewar Group who formed on the back of the centenary of the Dewar Report last year.

In 1912, Sir John Dewar led a distinguished committee to look into healthcare provision in the Highlands and Islands.

Taking evidence from doctors and patients, they visited the remotest parts of the area. Their ground breaking work was the forerunner to the NHS as we know it today.