Recommendations to reduce digital inequalities

A new publication by the University of Manchester provides thought leadership and analysis on how to address digital inequalities.

On Digital Inequalities says COVID-19 forced more people online.

However, it has also exposed a widening gap in our society with 9 million adults in the UK unable to use the internet without help and 3.8 million people never having used the internet.

There is also a north-south divide – 53% of people in the North East and 41% in the North West are either non-internet users or very limited users, compared to 35% in the South East.

Several different topics are covered in the publication, including how the digital healthcare revolution can end up leaving the most vulnerable behind.

University of Manchester

Study: Patient rationales against use of electronic health records

A study has identified eight rationales for patients not wanting to embrace online access to health records.

When asked their reasons for not using patient-accessible electronic health records, people said they were incomprehensible, containing medical terminology and explanations which were hard to understand.

They also felt the records were energy demanding as making sense of the record was added to the work of being a patient.

Other words used to describe the records included unnecessary, impersonal, misery oriented, fear provoking, cumbersome and impoverishing.

Authors said there is often an assumption that barriers to electronic health record use are practical but there were 'many other valid reasons' for not wanting to adopt this type of service.

It is hoped the results will help guide how digital health services are promoted to patients.


Good communication guide updated

NHS England has updated its guidance on good communication with patients who are waiting for care.

The guidance, originally published in January, was updated on 25 May.

It was developed in collaboration with PIF members National Voices, The Patients Association and Versus Arthritis, along with Healthwatch and The Richmond Group of Charities.

NHS England

Coronavirus as Recorded in Primary Care report

Statistics on COVID-19 patients as recorded in primary care systems throughout England have been published for the first time.

NHS Digital’s Coronavirus as Recorded in Primary Care publication presents the number of people recorded by GPs with either a positive COVID-19 test or COVID-19 symptoms between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.

The experimental statistics include information on the patients’ demographic characteristics, such as age, ethnicity and social economic status.

The aim is to help understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in different populations in England.

NHS Digital

Study: Simpler explanations could help reduce fear among people with dementia during cancer care

A new study explores the difficulties faced by people with dementia, their carers and healthcare professionals during cancer treatment.

It says people with dementia find hospital visits confusing and frightening and have difficulty retaining information and understanding what is happening.

Suggested strategies to make cancer care more accessible included involving carers more, longer appointments and simpler, written explanations, with pictures, for people to take home.

Authors also recommended increased staff training and making it easier for visitors to find their way around hospitals.


NICE recommends offering women induced labour earlier in new draft guidance

Draft guidance issued by NICE says women should be offered induced labour earlier than previously advised to make birth safer for them and their babies.

The update recommends women with uncomplicated singleton pregnancies should be offered induction at 41 weeks and the induction should take place as soon as possible. 

Previous guidelines advised induction between 41 and 42 weeks.

A consultation on the draft guideline is open until 6 July.


New resource to support culturally appropriate care

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a new online resource to help support culturally appropriate care.

It says culturally appropriate care has become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic when people may have had less contact with those who understand and affirm their culture.

To get started, providers should:

  • Ask people, or those who represent them, questions
  • Understand and meet people's preferences
  • Be curious about the important components to support people to live their fullest lives


Patient Safety Learning chief executive recognised by HIMSS

Patient Safety Learning's chief executive Helen Hughes has been recognised by HIMSS as a global Patient Leader in digital healthcare.

Helen said: "This award is a tremendous achievement for Patient Safety Learning, a charity and independent voice for system-wide change. 

"Its vision is to help transform safety in healthcare, creating a world where patients are free from avoidable harm. 

"It seeks to fulfil this vision through policy, influencing and campaigning and the creation of how to resources such as the platform for shared learning – the hub.”

Patient Safety Learning

HSJ Awards 2021 entry deadline extended

The deadline for entries to this year's HSJ Awards has been extended to 18 June.

Award winners will be announced on 18 November. Click on the link below to submit your entry.

HSJ Awards

Event: #AskHowIAm report and campaign launch

National Voices and the Centre for Mental Health are holding a webinar to launch their #AskHowIAm campaign and report.

#AskHowIAm calls for compassionate conversations for all people living with long-term conditions.

It details the mental health needs of people living with physical ill health.

The launch webinar will be held from 10am to 11am on 16 June.

National Voices

Podcast: The role of the NHS in tackling health inequalities

In the latest podcast from The King's Fund, Helen McKenna talks with Dr Bola Owolabi, Director of Health Inequalities at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

They discuss the NHS' spheres of influence, the power of gathering around a common cause and whether the experience of the pandemic will lead to a step change in tackling health inequalities.

The podcast will be available to non-subscribers for one month.

The King's Fund

Why patients can benefit from a preparation list

In this blog, Lawrence Mudford, Patient Representative for the Centre for Perioperative Care, discusses the difference between waiting and preparing.

He says the benefits of prehabilitation could be enhanced by preparation lists which make use of the time between a patient being told they need surgery and the operation itself.


Survey: Third sector experiences of providing rehabilitation services during COVID-19

PIF member the ALLIANCE is gathering third sector experiences of providing rehabilitation services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is seeking input on the Self Management for Rehabilitation Services Self-Assessment tool.

The results will be used to review and improve rehabilitation support across Scotland.


Guidance videos for teledermatology

Guidance videos have been published to support patients and primary care with teledermatology.

The videos, available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement Youtube channel, include:

The patient video is also being hosted as part of the National Health and Care video library.