Rural Forum

The RCGP Rural Forum group aims to improve representation of rural GPs within the College.

The forum supports GP revalidation and investigates education that seeks to ensure recruitment and retention in rural practices. We aim to improve communication with rural members, offer input for CPD programmes and research and provide the rural perspective in shaping College policy. Our aims are to:

  • Represent rural and remote GPs, and promote rural issues inside and outside the College faculties
  • Encourage rural GPs to engage with the College
  • Advance the College’s objectives in rural practice
  • Facilitate communication and networking of rural doctors in the UK
  • Support the professional development of rural GPs
  • Promote remote and rural issues at appropriate levels, engaging with the profession and managers and informing political debate.


  • Being Rural RCGP Scotland Rural Strategy Group policy paper [PDF]

RCGP Scotland Rural Strategy Group issued their policy paper Being Rural in an exclusive interview with Daniel Sanderson of the Herald on the challenges facing remote and rural general practice.

The Rural Forum initiative has been running for five years. Growing interest and increasing membership numbers suggest that we are meeting our aims to promote rural general practice and highlight issues facing rural GPs.

Initiatives include:

  • Helping to Rural Proof Health Policy and Supporting the Rural Fair Share Campaign; Download PDF Document 
  • Developing a training course to support and prepare qualified GPs to work in remote and rural areas Download PDF Document

Rural Forum Steering Group

The Forum is managed by a Steering Group supported by the administrator, Paula Lythgoe who supervises the day to day running of the Forum. The Steering Group consists of representatives from the 4 nations and co-opted members to represent AiTs, First5s, GPC, Dispensing Doctors' Association EURIPA, WONCA Rural Working Party. Rural Forum terms of reference PDF

To find out more about members of the Rural Forum Steering Group please click on the links below.

Rural GP Surgeries 'in crisis' say Senior Doctors - 2 September 2015

Senior doctors have told the BBC that GP surgeries in rural regions are in crisis as they say it is a struggle to recruit family doctors in remote areas.

The doctors claim the way surgeries are funded favours practices in towns and cities, and the situation is getting worse.

Please click on link below to view the clip

Rural GP surgeries 'in crisis' say senior doctors - BBC News

Rural Forum Conference - Report, Video Link & Presentations 

Dear Member

I am pleased to report that we had an excellent Rural Conference and educational event held at the Beardmore Hotel Glasgow 6 June 2015. The programme received very good feedback and included key note speakers College President Mike Pringle and RCGP Scotland Chair Miles Mack . Miles got the day off to a great start with his talk outlining the importance and relevance of the Dewar report on family practice in Scotland today and glimpses of where Scotland was headed with a new GP contract. To view click on the following link.

Mike kicked off the afternoon session and gave a very informative and entertaining resume of general practice over the years and his views on the future of rural practice, all without any reference to technological aids and only the briefest of notes.  Sadly the technology failed to record it!

Thanks to Colville Laird much of the day was recorded on video and clips can be seen by clicking on the respective links below.

Unfortunately some of the presentations were not recorded due to the camera hard drives reaching capacity. This included a very interesting and topical presentation on Social Media by Chris Williams. At the end of this session, reflecting on the advances in media and video conferencing technology the question was asked whether the Rural Forum should continue to hold face to face events like this and the answer was a unanimous “yes”. Chris’s power-point slides can be accessed via the link below.

Social Media: Networks, Engagement & New Tools for Rural Communities - Dr Chris Williams [PDF Document]

Consultant Paediatrician James West and Dr Hal Maxwell gave an update on managing the acute sick child and paediatric BLS which proved very popular and can be seen by clicking on the following link:

James and Hal's Presentation: 

Paediatric Emergency Care - Dr James West and Dr Hal Maxwell [PDF Document]

Colville Laird gave a lively update on what is happening at BASICs Scotland with particular reference to the use of latest technologies. His presentation was preceded by Chair Malcolm Ward who gave a brief presentation on the Rural Forum’s Rural GP Training and Recruitment Initiative. Both can be seen by clicking on the following link.:

The audience was gripped by accountant (Dodd &Co, Penrith) Jeanette Brown’s talk on the state of GP finances and business outlook for the future. The effects of GP reforms made grim news for some if not most practices, particularly rural practices: see the following link:

Jeanette's Presentation: 

How to Maintain Financial Viability in Remote and Rural Practices - Mrs Jeanette Brown [PDF Document]

The delegates were thrilled by Ian Livingstone’s demonstration of the diagnostic potential of the “eye phone” – just a matter of time before every Doctor should have one? To get a glimpse of this fantastic smart phone prototype please click on the following link:

We ended the day with a hands on adult and paediatric BLS skills workshop thanks to the equipment provided by BASICs Scotland and instructors Chris Williams, Colville Laird , James West and Hal Maxwell.

A great day was had by all at a very suitable venue.

Rural Events Calendar

New events to be posted soon 

Rural Forum Discussion Google Group

This is the means by which members can follow and inform topical debate and can contribute to Rural Forum activity. An operational guide will be sent electronically on joining the Forum.

Join the Forum

The Forum is open to any College member and is completely free. Join by emailing your details to us. Please include the following details:

  • First name and surname
  • GMC number
  • The email address which you registered with the College’s membership database

Benefits of joining

  • Representation of rural practitioners' interests in the care of their patients at all levels
  • Established democratic representative structure
  • Opportunity for you to inform and influence College policy
  • A virtual system of communication via e-communication and web based facilities
  • Fee reduction for attendance at educational meetings and courses run by the Forum
  • Opportunity to comment on and influence College policy opportunity to influence College interaction with other agencies where their policies and initiatives may impact on rural healthcare.

Contact us

Administrator: Paula Lythgoe
Telephone: 01946 523419
Email: or

If I am unavailable please contact my line manager:

Mrs Lifa Zvimbande, Regional Engagement Manager

Tel: 020 3188 7792 |


Useful Links:

The RuralGP blog can be accessed here

WHO Reference Documents on Remote and Rural Retention Policy for Health Workers

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