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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Rural and Remote Health Credential (Unscheduled and Urgent Care)

Rural and Remote Health Credential (Unscheduled and Urgent Care)

Rural and Remote Health Credential (Unscheduled and Urgent Care)

Equipping professionals, assuring employers and benefitting rural communities.

A new Rural and Remote Credential, developed in a UK-wide partnership and led by NHS Education for Scotland (NES), will play a pivotal role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of rural communities.

The GMC-approved curriculum and associated educational framework provides a consistent approach to learning and will equip doctors with enhanced skills in leading, delivering and coordinating unscheduled and urgent patient care closer to home.

The curriculum will assure doctors’ learning whilst also providing assurance to employers responsible for the provision of care. This will benefit rural, remote and island communities and reduce geographic disparities in healthcare provision.

This Credential will enhance practitioner’s skills and expertise in the provision of emergency medicine at the interface between primary and secondary care. It will support doctors by providing them with the competences required to recognise, stabilise and manage an acutely unwell patient, for up to 24 hours if evacuation is necessary, as well as the management of appropriate inpatient cases.

Health Secretary, Neil Gray said:

“I am pleased that this new Credential is launching this year. This is an important step in recognising the dynamic nature of the work doctors undertake in rural areas of Scotland. I am grateful to NES and the GMC for the work undertaken which has allowed us to get to this position.”

The benefits of the rural and remote Credential include:

  • Recognition for the unique challenges faced by clinicians who practise in remote and rural settings.
  • A curriculum and educational governance framework for unscheduled and urgent care in remote and rural areas.
  • Career development and advancement opportunities for doctors in these settings.
  • Support of sustainable, remote and rural careers and provision of local role models to inspire the next generation of doctors.

Professor Emma Watson, Director of Medicine, NES said:

“The Credential represents the unwavering commitment, collaboration and desire to recognise the unique contribution of doctors working in remote, rural and island locations to patient care. We are immensely grateful to the regulator, our Rural and Remote Health Credential Expert Steering Group and the many clinicians, stakeholders, patients, professional bodies, education providers and NHS employers who helped us reach this point.
“The Credential brings assured training to doctors delivering unscheduled and urgent care and will play a crucial role in healthcare access and outcomes in remote, rural and island communities, ultimately contributing to the overall health and well-being of these communities.”

There are two routes for an award of the Credential in rural and remote health.

1. The Learner Route
This comprises experiential work-place based learning with some blended learning such as speciality-based placements. The curriculum is outcomes-based. Attainment of the competencies may be achieved at different times depending on pre-credential experience, training, and learning.

2. The Recognition Route
This is an entirely new process for recognising a doctor’s knowledge, skills, and experience. Doctors who can demonstrate they meet the Credential’s outcomes can be awarded the Credential by providing evidence rather than completing the learning pathway.

NES is delighted that the value and distinct nature of remote and rural healthcare has been acknowledged and championed through this Credential. The Credential will ensure that people living in remote and rural communities will continue to have good and safe care.

The Credential will launch in September 2024 for those embarking on the Recognition Route and late 2024 for the Learner Route.

For further information on either the Learner or Recognition Route please visit the Scotland Deanery site or email

Watch the Rural and Remote Health Credential Promotional Video.


May, 23 2024