Bishop of St Albans asks about rural health in the Integration White Paper

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question on references to rural health in the the Integration White Paper on 10th February 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I declare my interests as a vice-president of the Local Government Association and president of the Rural Coalition. I want to pick up very briefly on what the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, said about rural issues. It is disappointing that there are no explicit references to rural health. One of the concerns of the APPG on Rural Health and Social Care parliamentary inquiry was the way in which inappropriate data, metrics and funding formulas can disadvantage rural areas. National programmes are one thing, but when they are delegated to local areas how are we going to ensure that they are properly rural-proofed and will integrate both health and care?

Lord Kamall (Con): It is important to stress once again that the key to this is that we cannot overly prescribe from here in Westminster and Whitehall. We must make sure that at whatever place, whether it is rural or urban, the people and patients who are cared for in the system are being understood. One reason why we want one person to be accountable, whether in urban or rural areas, is the fact that they must take responsibility for ensuring that all these things are joined up—not only health and social care as we understand them but technology, housing and all those other issues. I know that the right reverend Prelate and my noble friend Lady McIntosh have often raised this issue. We think that the proposal is flexible enough, whether in an urban or a rural area, to make sure that one person really understands the local area of integration.


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