Report highlights vital role charities play in digital health

An Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) report highlights the vital role charities play in digital health. 

It shares case studies and outlines key learnings and recommendations from a collaborative project exploring how charity digital content can be better signposted.

The digital health project was delivered in partnership with NHS England and PIF members Diabetes UK, Asthma + Lung UK, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Parkinson’s UK, Versus Arthritis and MS Society.

It resulted in increased signposting to the charities’ information on national and NHS provider apps and digital platforms.

The report calls on NHS England to:

  • Involve health charities in the development of health information on national digital channels like the NHS app and website
  • Encourage providers to consider medical research charities as important stakeholders

Read the full report here.

Maintaining and updating NICE’s guideline portfolio

As part of its strategy to deliver ‘living guideline recommendations’ NICE is making changes to how it manages and maintains its portfolio.

The changes will see NICE prioritise which topics it actively monitors and updates, focusing on topics:

  • That are national system priorities
  • Where the evidence is changing at pace or contains uncertainty
  • That have a significant cost or other resource impact on the system
  • That have an impact on health inequalities

NICE is also mapping its existing guidelines into ‘topic suites’ starting with diabetes, mental health and wellbeing, and women’s health.

Read more about the changes here.

Study: Can recurrent hoaxes help us predict and tackle the next infodemic?

Analysis by the EU Disinfo Lab compares debunked monkeypox-related hoaxes to those during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It found most hoaxes related to monkeypox were merely recycled from pandemic-related disinformation and none were original.

The study explores whether recycling hoaxes by disinformation transmitters offers a possibility for the counter-disinformation community to improve their strategies and even predict deceptive narratives.

The recycling of disinformation suggests the need to move away from a crisis-by-crisis approach towards a more systematic response.

The report says pre-bunking might be a viable way to detect hoaxes before they create a new infodemic threat. 

Read the findings in full here.

Systemic failings in osteoporosis diagnosis and care

A national inquiry has found major shortcomings in osteoporosis identification, treatment and care.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Osteoporosis and Bone Health inquiry was managed by PIF member the Royal Osteoporosis Society.

It said GPs should be well placed to identify people at high risk of breaking bones before they happen, holding information about straightforward risk factors for poor bone health. 

But Freedom of Information data from Clinical Commissioning Groups, Health Boards, and Trusts shows a vacuum when it comes to oversight of standards of care. 

Read more about the findings here.

Mental disorders among 17 to 19 year olds increase

An NHS Digital report into mental health found one in four 17 to 19 year olds in England had a probable mental disorder in 2022 – an increase from one in six in 2021.

Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2022 explores the mental health of children and young people in England in 2022 and how this has changed from 2017, 2020 and 2021. Key findings include:

  • 18% of seven to 16 year olds had a probable mental disorder in 2022
  • Prevalence of a probable mental disorder was nearly twice as high in boys (19.7%) as in girls (10.5%) aged seven to 10
  • Children with a probable mental disorder were more likely to live in a home experiencing financial strain

Read the summary and access the full report here.

Physical health checks for people with severe mental illness from black communities

The Race Equality Foundation has published a report on physical health checks for people with severe mental illness from Black African and Caribbean communities. It found:

  • Variation in awareness of physical health checks, with significantly lower awareness in some locations
  • A lack of engagement from health professionals with those with SMI not under the care of secondary care services
  • A lack of cultural awareness and fears of being sectioned meaning people were apprehensive about using services

Recommendations include more active promotion of physical health checks through visual methods, increased engagement with voluntary organisations and the communities they support, and more information on what to expect during appointments.

Access the full report here.

Boost for Long Covid support line

The Scottish Government has boosted financial support for a Long Covid advice line.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) has been awarded £157,000 to continue offering expert advice on how to manage Long Covid symptoms such as fatigue and breathlessness.

Read more about the support line here.

Patients to carry out health checks in own home

A trial aiming to make it easier and more convenient for patients to carry out important health checks at home has been launched in Cornwall.

The trial is the first of its kind in England and part of the government’s plans to digitise the existing NHS Health Check.

It will see patients complete an online questionnaire, use a kit to take a blood sample at home, and complete a blood pressure check at their local pharmacy or in their GP waiting room.

The NHS Health Check is a health check-up for adults in England aged 40 to 74. 

It is designed to prevent stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some types of dementia.

Read more about the trial here.

Online eating disorder learning

Health Education England has worked in partnership with NHS England and the charity Beat to create a suite of eating disorder learning materials.

Alongside a host of training materials for health and care professionals, the suite now contains training materials on eating disorders specifically for dietitians, oral health teams and community pharmacy teams.

The materials are provided as a series of pre-recorded webinars.

Find out more and access the materials here.

Lung health information in Ukrainian

The European Lung Foundation has published a suite of resources about lung health in Ukrainian.

The patient-facing materials include English titles so they can be easily signposted by healthcare professionals.

See all the Ukrainian lung health information here.