Now this is an excellent example of rural people power in action. At the 4th session of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Rural Health and Care on Thursday Professor Stephen Singleton was talking about a very similar approach in a Cumbrian example. The key point here is that health and care needs significant community engagement if it is to be sustainable in the long term in many small rural towns. This story tells us:

Lorna Cavanagh can name every doctor who has worked at the surgery in the Cornish fishing village of Mevagissey since 1944 – the year she was born. The 75-year-old describes calling a Dr Hannon at 2am when her sister-in-law was taken ill with kidney stones in the 1970s. “You could see him from our window coming down that hill on his moped,” she said. “It was a very personal service.”

Last month the well-respected partner of the local practice, Dr Katherine James, announced she would be handing back her contract to run the surgery on 31 July. NHS England says it is assessing the options available, but it is feared the much-loved community surgery could close and its 5,300 patients forced to use the infrequent and expensive bus service to travel elsewhere for treatment.

Faced with this prospect, the residents of Mevagissey, which is eight miles south of St Austell, the nearest medium-sized town, took matters into their own hands. The “Will you be my GP?” campaign – with its #willyoubemygp hashtag – aims to persuade doctors around the country that they should make the picturesque fishing village, with its narrow winding streets and superior fish and chips, their home. In a campaign video posted on the Cornwall Channel, a crowd of residents chant: “Be our GP. We are a lovely community. We need you.”

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