Continuing impact of COVID-19 on health and inequalities

The Health Foundation has published a long-read outlining how the pandemic is still affecting health and inequalities a year on from its COVID-19 impact inquiry.

It says inequalities in COVID-19 mortality persist with mortality rates three to four times higher in the most deprived areas.

Vaccination uptake for some groups is still low, especially for people living in poorer areas and people from some minority ethnic groups.

The significant deterioration in mental health during the first year of the pandemic has been reversing but has not entirely returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

Data suggest anxiety remains heightened, especially among women. 

The Health Foundation

Call for evidence: Misinformation and trusted voices

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee is examining how to ensure the public has sufficient access to authoritative information on matters of national debate.

The inquiry will explore which organisations are the most trusted sources of information in the UK.

It will also examine the part played in the national debate of publicly-funded and independent National Academies, representing the UK’s science, arts, engineering and medical research communities.

A call for evidence is open until Thursday, 15 September.

UK Parliament

Study: mHealth interventions to improve cancer screening and early detection

A  new study aims to analyse literature reviews on the use of mobile health (mHealth) technologies to improve the uptake of cancer screening.

It found the most commonly used mHealth technologies for increasing cancer screening uptake were text messages and telephone calls. 

Overall, mHealth interventions increased knowledge about screening and had high acceptance among participants. 

The likelihood of achieving improved uptake-related outcomes increased when interventions used more than one mode of communication together with mHealth.

These included telephone reminders, physical invitation letters and educational leaflets.


Diabetes: my information, my support

A new report by the ALLIANCE details people’s lived experience of diabetes information and support in Scotland.

A series of focus groups and a workshop found accessible information and support provided at an early stage influenced people’s perception of their diagnosis. 

Key barriers to diabetes information and support included, time off work to attend appointments, childcare commitments, lack of connectivity or digital skills and transport difficulties.

People suggested these barriers could be overcome by:

  • Equitable access to information and support
  • Information available in multiple and accessible formats
  • Early intervention
  • Dedicated diabetes medical staff
  • Formal psychological support
  • Maintenance of existing services such as My Diabetes My Way


Monkeypox living evidence profile

The McMaster University Health Forum has published a living evidence profile on the best-available evidence related to the monkeypox outbreak.

The profile identified evidence and experiences from 11 countries, including the UK, as well as all Canadian provinces and territories. 

McMaster Health Forum

Video: How communications can prevent misinformation and stigma

This Pandemic Response Institute webinar presents a framework for developing appropriate, widespread, proactive communications messages and plans about infectious diseases that do not further stigmatise.

It also discusses how to engage at-risk populations who may be missed due to stigma.

The webinar includes a presentation on derailing stigma and a panel discussion on the challenges misinformation and stigma have presented for managing outbreak communications. 


Social listening to identify information voids

Social listening can be used to understand who and what is being talked about and how it affects them.

The WHO public health taxonomy for social listening on monkeypox conversations, both online and offline, presents five thematic categories.

These can be used by information producers to identify questions, concerns, information voids and narrative changes related to monkeypox over time.


Improving patient understanding on discharge from short stay units

In this BMJ Open Quality article, the authors discuss a systems approach to improve patient understanding on discharge. 

Patient understanding was assessed across five areas: diagnosis, medication changes, follow-up care, return instructions and knowing who their consultant was.

Staff interviews identified the electronic discharge document as a practical source of written information. 

However, testing with patients showed the format required substantial redesign to be written in patient-friendly language, use signposting, space information and avoid jargon. 

Patients also consistently over-rated their understanding of discharge information.

Following the intervention, understanding improved across all areas except medication changes.

BMJ Open Quality

Brain tumour patients and COVID-19 vaccines

A survey of brain tumour patients has found people want more information on how COVID-19 vaccines might directly impact their future treatment.

Almost 1,000 people completed the International Brain Tumour Alliance survey in 42 countries.

Most brain tumour patients and their caregivers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 – 84.5% and 89.9%, respectively. 

No patient reported serious adverse events from any vaccine. 

Less than 10% of patients decided against receiving a vaccination against COVID-19, with the most common reason being concerns over safety.

Neuro-Oncology Advances

New photo collection on older unpaid carers

The Centre for Ageing Better has released a new collection of images in its age-positive image library. 

We care: A snapshot of older unpaid carers shines a light on the experience of being an unpaid carer, including people’s lives outside of caring. 

It features carers aged 50 and over as well as those they care for. 

Images are free to download for use in materials.

Centre for Ageing Better

Checklist for accessible word documents

AbilityNet has published a checklist to help ensure documents created on Microsoft Word are meeting diverse reader needs.

Topics covered in the checklist include headings, plain language, alt descriptions and hyperlinks.


Event: Statutory guidance on working with people and communities

NHS England is hosting a series of webinars on new statutory guidance on working with people and communities.

The webinars will cover how the guidance can help NHS commissioners and providers meet their legal duties to involve people.

They will also outline how the guidance supports wider health and care partners to build effective and meaningful partnerships with communities.

The next webinar is from 10am to 11am on 11 October.

Subsequent dates are 11am to noon on 9 November and 4pm to 5pm on 5 December.

NHS England