Central shielding programme failed to reach around 800,000 clinically extremely vulnerable people

A report by the Public Accounts Committee says the Government’s 'quickly drawn up' scheme to support  those most vulnerable to COVID-19 suffered from poor data and a lack of joined up systems.

There was no pre-existing plan for shielding the clinically vulnerable. 

The committee also says government took too long to identify some clinically vulnerable people at a time when their need was urgent. 

Up to 800,000 people may have 'slipped through the net and missed out on much-needed support'.

Subsequent engagement with local health bodies across the country introduced 'a postcode lottery' with huge local variations in those added to the list of people eligible for government support. 

Those lists grew by 15% up to 352% in different local authority areas, and more than doubled in 33 authorities.

UK Parliament

Study: Communicating scientific uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic

A new study aims to evaluate whether an 'uncertainty normalising' communication strategy about the COVID-19 pandemic can reduce ambiguity aversion.

The strategy aimed to reinforce the expected nature of scientific uncertainty about coronavirus.

It was compared to conventional public communication strategies aimed at promoting hope and prosocial values.

Authors said communicating scientific uncertainty about public health threats such as COVID-19 is desirable. 

However, the communication of scientific uncertainty is challenging because of its potential to promote ambiguity aversion –  heightened risk perceptions, emotional distress, and decision avoidance.

The study found uncertainty normalising increased perceived likelihood of getting COVID-19 and worry about COVID-19. 

However, it reduced aversive effects of communicating scientific uncertainty. 

In contrast, the hope-promoting and prosocial strategies did not decrease ambiguity-averse responses to scientific uncertainty. 


Ten digital priorities for NHS patient safety

Patient safety and digital experts have shared their views on immediate digital priorities that could make a significant difference in the NHS.

Top of the list in the Digital Health article is strengthening digital literacy.

The article also includes the views of Helen Hughes and Clive Flashman from Patient Safety Learning who call for better access to centrally-sourced and patient generated data.

Digital Health

Exploring the application of human rights principles in digital health and social care

PIF member The ALLIANCE is exploring six principles for a human-rights-based approach to digital health and social care. 

It is working with Scottish Care and VOX to support the development of rights-based digital health and social care policy and practice across Scotland.

The ALLIANCE is hosting three events to gather people’s views and experiences:

  • Monday 14 June – people with direct experience of accessing digital services.
  • Monday 5 July – stakeholders who have experience delivering digital health and social care services.
  • Monday 26 July – support workers engaging with digitally excluded groups or individuals.

Click on the link below for more information and to register.


NHS trust to improve digital messaging for deaf and deafblind patients

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS FT has launched a deaf digital inclusion project, to find the best practice for communicating with deaf and deafblind patients.

The project will look at the barriers faced by the patients around digital communications, and how to help the staff become more deaf aware.

As well as looking at the practicalities of video appointments, the deaf digital inclusion project has started exploring digital barriers to deaf and deafblind patients, including digital poverty and infrastructures. 

To enhance the confidence, awareness and skills of patients, families and carers’ the project has offered a series of training sessions.

National Health Executive

Third Sector Awards open for entries

The Third Sector Awards 2021 are now open for entries with an early bird deadline of 20 May.

The awards provide an opportunity for voluntary organisations of all sizes, and the people who work for them, to celebrate their work and the real difference they make to society. 

This year a scheme is being piloted to boost the presence of small, micro, BAME-led and local charities.

Thirty free entries are being offered for the Talent Awards to charities with an annual income of less than £100,000. 

Third Sector Awards

Video: Shared decision – a patient perspective

The Centre for Perioperative Care has published a video explaining shared decision making from a patient perspective.

The video was shared at a recent PRSB round table on shared decision making attended by PIF.

It explains how shared decision making can be used to benefit both the patient and healthcare professionals.

The video is available to view by clicking on the link below.

Centre for Perioperative Care

New website to support public in COVID-19 vaccine decision making

A new website has been launched to help support the public in making their decisions about having a COVID-19 vaccine.

It was developed by creative technology agency Rehab and the University of Nottingham.

The site aims to address the most common questions raised by the public and seeks to 'have a conversation' as well as present the facts. 

it includes a chatbot function which aims to present scientific evidence in an accessible way.

Covid Vax Facts

COVID-19 vaccine animations to tackle disinformation

NHS England and NHS Improvement has launched a series of animations aimed at tackling disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Aimed specifically at encouraging uptake in ethnic minority groups, the animations are available in 17 languages and are suitable for use on a wide range of social media platforms. 

They cover key topics including vaccine safety, how it was tested, how it was developed so quickly, what is in it, and what the side effects are. 

Files can be downloaded from the campaign resource centre and English versions are also available on YouTube.

Public Health England

COVID-19 vaccine rollout – opportunity to bring digital health and care into the community

In this article, Pritesh Mistry says digital health and care must work for as many people as possible or risk exacerbating inequalities.

He says the vaccine rollout provides an 'unmissable opportunity' to address longstanding gaps in care and delivery.

Pritesh argues the deep community engagement seen during the vaccine rollout should be a first step in developing inclusive healthcare services.

The King's Fund