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 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. 

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


The committee comprises of two Co-Chairs elected and other members interested in developing and supporting the needs of those in rural medicine.


  • Dr Patrick Byrne, Consultant Physician & GP, Belford Hospital, Fort William
  • Dr Stewart Lambie, Consultant in Renal Medicine, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness

Committee Members:

  • Dr Cormac Doyle, Gilbert Bain Hospital, Lerwick, Shetland.
  • Dr Rosemary Hollick, Senior Clinical Lecturer & Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist.
  • Dr Jean MacLeod, RCPE Director of Quality Research and Standards.
  • Dr Albert McNeill, Cardiologist at the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast, N.I.
  • Dr Hannah Skene, Acute Physician at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.
  • Dr Pauline Wilson, Consultant Physician, NHS Shetland.
  • Professor Rebecca Wallace, Lay Representative, Emeritus Professor of Law at Robert Gordon University.  
  • Mrs Sushee Dunn, RCPE Head of Quality, Research and Standards
  • Dr Colin McDowall, RCPE Quality Research and Standards Co-coordinator


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.  Further events are planned going forward. See the events page and QRS page for the latest news.

Contact the committee

The Committee welcomes any new members who wish to join the group or any enquires about the groups work. If you would like more information, please contact the Committee Administrator at Dr Colin McDowall (name linked to email| 0131 247 3671

Further Information:

R&R Committee Terms of Reference


Data and quote from Rural Scotland Key Facts 2015 (published by The Scottish Government)