Rural Scotland accounts for 98% of the land mass of Scotland and nearly a fifth of the population are resident there. Over recent years, the population of rural Scotland has grown at a faster rate than the rest of Scotland, driven by the increase in accessible rural areas*. 

Remote healthcare is increasingly an issue across the UK and the rest of the world; large populations are being significantly disadvantaged by geographical location. In recognition of this the RCPE originally founded a Remote and Rural (R&R) Committee in 2017 with the purpose to establish and develop a remote and rural programme of work that will seek to recognise the breadth of issues in remote and rural practice and address resilience, identity, standards and sustainability. 

*Information from Rural Scotland Key Facts 2015 published by The Scottish Government.

The remit of the group is to:

  • Support the personal and professional resilience of remote and rural physicians by developing a [meaningful] network where knowledge and skills can be shared and which builds emotional support
  • Increase the relevance of  the College across remote and rural communities
  • Provide a voice and identity for rural and remote physicians
  • Improve the understanding of remote and rural practice
  • Develop consensus that reflects and supports the reality of remote and rural practice
  • Influencing training curricula including placement opportunities


A renewed Remote and Rural Working Group was established in 2023. The Working Group comprises of the RCPE Remote and Rural Adviser (Chair) and other College Fellows and Members interested in developing and supporting the needs of those in rural medicine.

Chair and RCPE Remote and Rural Adviser :

  • Dr Pauline Wilson, Consultant Physician, NHS Shetland

Working Group Members:

  • Dr Marion Slater, Consultant Geriatrician, NHS Grampian
  • Dr Hamish Myers, ST6 Acute/General Medicine, NHS Highland
  • Dr Shiva Sreenivasan, Consultant in Acute Medicine, Western Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland
  • Dr Joy Miller, Respiratory Medicine Consultant, NHS Grampian
  • Dr Michael MacKenzie MBE, Consultant Physician, Infectious Diseases, NHS Highland
  • Dr S. Michael Crawford, Yorkshire
  • Dr Gordon Caldwell, Highlands and Islands
  • Dr Neil Shepherd, Rural Emergency Physician, NHS Highland and Locum GP, NHS Orkney
  • ​Dr Hazem Youssef, Consultant Rheumatologist, NHS Grampian


As part of the group’s commitment to Remote and Rural medicine, a conference was organised in November 2019. The successful conference saw over 100 delegates meet at the centre for Health Sciences, Inverness to discuss the issues of credentialing, recruitment, retention and resilience.  Information on upcoming events can be viewed on the RCPE Events page.