Note: The opinions expressed on this website are those of the author. It is best to gather information from several sources before making a decision to purchase rural property, and this website does not purport to discuss all the issues that might arise. This information is provided on a "use at your own risk" basis and the author assumes no liability for subsequent use of the information provided here.


In a time when there are many questions about timely access to medical services, I will not comment on whether or not the services provided in cities - where hospitals are more likely to be nearby - are better than those provided in rural areas, but I will offer an informal checklist that I would use in considering this issue before purchasing a rural property.

1) Are there family doctors in the area that are taking new clients?

2) What is the distance to a full-service hospital? Where are the ambulances stationed, and what would be the approximate time required to get to this hospital if an ambulance was called?

3) What is the distance to the nearest centre with an appropriate number of specialists?

4) If there are smaller hospitals in the area, what are their reputations, and do they have helipads for airlift evacuation to larger hospitals if that is required?

5) What is the usual waiting time in the Emergency Department at your local hospital?

6) If you are interested in alternative medical procedures and therapies, are there qualified practitioners in the area? Are there sources for herbal or homeopathic treatment?



A Personal Story

We heat our home with wood, and this involves both a lot of work and some danger.

Recently my wife was using a new hatchet to cut kindling, and a slight miss in the direction of the swing resulted in a deep cut to the index finger on her left hand - right to the bone.

With her hand wrapped, we got in the car and made a quick decision. We could go to the nearest city hospital (about 25 Km away) and face the large number of people in the waiting room, or we could run to a much smaller hospital in a nearby town.

If the situation had been one that would require specialized equipment or personnel, we likely would have chosen the city, but this time we decided to go to the smaller hospital.

Triage was almost immediate. It still took quite a while before we were entirely finished there (about 3 hours) but, there were only 3 or 4 other patients in the line-up. When we saw the doctor, he really took his time, very patiently assessing the situation for possible nerve damage and discovering a hidden flap of skin that made the process he would use to put in the stitches a little different.

His calm, reassuring voice and unhurried, very professional care, were much appreciated.

Copyright, Bob Foster, 2015