COVID-19 testing for staff and patients in periods of 'low prevalence'

The Government has set out plans for staff and patient testing for COVID-19 in periods of 'low prevalence'.

In a letter sent to primary and secondary care leaders, NHS England said prevalence in the community has fallen. 

Routine asymptomatic testing will pause from today (31 August).

The letter also included details of cases where testing should continue, including for high-risk patients and early release from self-isolation for patients in acute settings.

NHS England

Study: How do patients make decisions in the context of a multidisciplinary team?

A new study aims to describe how patients are engaged in a multidisciplinary team (MDT) and how recommendations are put into use in the context of shared decision making.

Authors found MDT discussions often conclude with a firm recommendation for treatment. 

This recommendation may be accepted because of the disempowered position the patient finds themselves in. 

While patient behaviour may appear to endorse clinicians’ views that a paternalistic approach is desired by patients, the rigid approach to treatment recommendation can act as a barrier to discussion of options and the exploration of patient values.

Authors concluded the current model of MDT decision-making does not support shared decision-making and may actively undermine it. 

They  recommend allowing individual patient perspective more input into discussions and giving patients options rather than a single recommendation for discussion.

BMJ Open

Physical activity programme 'no more effective' than information leaflet

A programme to increase physical activity in people at risk of developing diabetes was no more effective in the long term than an information leaflet, according to an NIHR research summary.

Researchers explored whether the Walking Away programme increased long-term physical activity. 

They also looked at whether adding text messages and phone calls – Walking Away Plus – made the programme more effective. Both versions were compared with an information leaflet.

At one year, people in the Walking Away Plus group took 500+ more steps per day than the leaflet group. There was no difference in the Walking Away only group. 

However, the effect in the Walking Away Plus group was not sustained at four years. 

People from the most socially deprived areas, who typically need most support to increase activity levels, were least likely to benefit from the Walking Away Plus programme .


Why working with patient groups is critical for providing effective treatments and services

In this NHS England blog, Fiona Marley and Liz Ryburn disuss why working with patient groups is critical for providing effective treatments and services – particularly for rare diseases.

The blog is based on learnings from a project to secure new treatments for young children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) – a rare genetic condition causing progressive muscle weakness and wasting.

They say using a collaborative model and engaging the patient community from the start supported delivery of equitable treatment provision and well-timed, appropriate information via community channels that was better able to reach those that needed it.

NHS England

Study: Changing strategies of people with dementia seeking health information

A new study investigates the information behaviours of people with dementia who have been living with the condition for four to 26 years. 

Authors aimed to identify how people with dementia get information about their condition, why they seek information and how their motivations change over time.

Participants described their information needs in terms of managing the disrupted physiological, emotional and social aspects of their lives following a diagnosis of dementia. 

They used various information behaviours, including active search, ongoing search, monitoring, proxy search, information avoidance and selective exposure. 

These information behaviours adapted to accommodate changing circumstances as people worked to re-establish equilibrium and continue engaging in life while living with a degenerative neurological condition.

The authors hope their findings can be used to improve person-centred information and support services for people with dementia.


Short on treatment options for Long Covid

In this article, Ben Hargreaves discusses why, with COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics developed in rapid time, this has not been the case with the creation of a treatment for Long Covid. 

He says the condition is more common than might be thought and presents a significant burden to patients. 

Yet the pipeline of potential therapies remains relatively sparse.


Survey: Transforming Pharmacy Practice

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and The King's Fund are working on a vision for the role of pharmacists and pharmacy teams.

They are currently consulting on the vision and want to hear from as many people as possible – from healthcare professionals to system leaders and members of the public.

There are six key themes to the consultation which closes on 30 September:

  • Supporting people and communities to live well for longer
  • Enabling people to live well with the medicines they choose to take
  • Enhancing patient experience and access
  • Our pharmacy people
  • Data, innovation and research
  • Collaboration and leadership

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Disrupting patterns of exclusion in participatory spaces

This article examines examples of involving people from vulnerable populations to ensure opportunities for involvement in health decision making are more equitable and impactful.

The authors say, despite more people getting involved in health decisions through methods like coproduction and participatory research, there is a concerning pattern of exclusion. 

People from lower socioeconomic groups and diverse cultural backgrounds, or with vulnerabilities due to medical conditions, are 'easy to ignore'.

This pattern of exclusion overlooks the resilience, capabilities and agency of people from these groups and the ways in which opportunities for involvement can be more evenly spread.

Wiley Online Library

Consultation: Care of Trans and Gender Diverse Adults in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is consulting on a draft version of a Green-top Guideline on Care of Trans and Gender Diverse Adults in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The draft guideline says trans and gender-diverse people may not have a clear view of their future interest in having children.

This means it is important they have access to clear and detailed information to allow them to make informed choices.

The consultation closes on 6 September, click on the link below to take part.


Climate change impact on lung health

The European Lung Foundation (ELF) has released a poster outlining the impact climate change can have on lung health.

The poster is available to view online or print from the ELF website.


Survey: Long Covid lived experience

The ALLIANCE is seeking views on Long Covid information and support in Scotland.

People with lived experience of Long Covid, families, carers and third sector organisations supporting those with Long Covid are invited to take part.

 The survey, which should take 10 minutes to complete and is anonymous, closes on 23 September.