Government evidence communication during COVID-19 'largely authoritarian' 

An inquiry into the basis for Government decisions during COVID-19 and how well people could understand them has characterised communications as 'largely authoritarian'.

The What Counts? Scoping Inquiry was set up to explore what society needed to know and how well the UK Government was able to respond.

It questions whether the Government enables people with the information it provides and whether it has the tools to communicate evidence and policy. Key findings include:

  • 69% got information about the pandemic from government briefings but just 30% considered these the most useful source of information provided by the government
  • Most people felt the government did not have enough evidence about the effect of the pandemic and measures to combat it
  • Simple instructions were intended to provide clarity in public health messages, but in practice left people unclear in many significant sectors
  • People understood a lack of information but struggled with sudden changes of direction that lacked explanation

Sense About Science

Is YouTube a reliable source of health-related information?

A systematic review aims to provide insight into the published literature concerning the quality of health information and educational videos found on YouTube.

More than 22,000 videos were assessed in selected articles. Quality was assessed by scoring, categorisation, or creator bias. 

Results indicated health-related content on YouTube is of 'average to below-average' quality. 

The majority of the studies confirmed either negative or no correlation between the quality and popularity of the assessed videos.

Authors concluded YouTube’s popularity-driven metrics should not be considered quality indicators and it should improve its ranking and recommender system to promote higher-quality content. 

BMC Medical Education

NHS spending on translation and interpreting services

A report sets out to provide up-to-date data on NHS spending on translation and interpreting services.

It found total NHS spending on translation and interpreting services for Trusts and Health Boards in the UK was £65,962,418 in 2019/2020.

This included Welsh and services for the deaf and blind, for example, British Sign Language (BSL) and braille.

There was an average increase of 6.2% every year between 2015/2016 and 2019/2020 in the total spending on translation and interpreting services (including BSL and Welsh).

In 2019/2020, spending on translation increased by 0.47%, interpreting by 0.4%, while BSL saw an increase of 21.81% compared to the previous year.

Inbox Translation

Children and teenagers reluctant to have COVID-19 vaccine

Only one in two young people aged 9 to 18 said they would have an approved COVID-19 vaccine. 

Researchers asked children and adolescents how they felt about having the vaccine. 

Half of the group (50%) said they would have the vaccine if it was offered to them. Around 1 in 3 (37%) were undecided, and around 1 in 10 (13%) said they would not have the vaccine. 

Hesitancy was higher among the youngest children (aged 9 - 15).

Researchers are exploring how best to use social media to spread accurate information and looking at the impact of translations. 


Study: Psychological histories of COVID-19 vaccine hesitance and resistance

A new study aims to understand people's reasons for being vaccine hesitant or resistant to develop more effective pro-vaccination messaging.

Its findings suggest hesitancy and resistance are 'not merely contemporary misunderstandings made by uninformed adults'. 

Instead, many vaccine-resistant, and to a lesser extent hesitant, adults had childhood histories of adverse experiences in their families leading to a legacy of mistrust.

Many had also experienced chronic mental health conditions, felt fatalistic about their health and had long-standing problems with cognitive information-processing. 

Relative to the resistant group, the hesitant group had weaker verbal comprehension abilities.

Authors suggest clear and simple messaging, tailored to a modest level of verbal complexity, may reach the vaccine-hesitant.

However, the vaccine-resistant group's mistrust was ubiquitous, extending beyond institutions and influencers, to family, friends, and co-workers. 

Authors suggest clear and simple wording is not enough in these cases.

Instead, a better understanding of the personal histories and information processing among vaccine-resisters is urgently needed. 

PNAS Nexus

Valuing Lived Experience – Learning Report

National Voices has published a report summarising two years of work on lived experience and its Voices for Improvement project.

The report shares learnings from Voices for Improvement in a bid to encourage other organisations to embrace co-production.

It outlines key steps to support meaningful partnership between lived and learned experience.

National Voices

Examining accuracy in Google Scholar data

A new viewpoint article examines the accuracy of citation data collected from Google Scholar and provides a description of the errors and miscounts identified.

The author retrieved 281 documents that cited two specific works via Publish or Perish software (PoP). 

Of those, 279 contained at least one error. Non-academic documents tended to contain more errors than academic publications.

The author concluded Google Scholar data could potentially expose researchers using data without verification to substantial biases in their analyses and results. 

Further work must be conducted to assess the consequences of using Google Scholar data extracted by PoP.


People with chronic conditions struggling to access Long Covid support

Healthwatch has published a report into people's experiences of getting treatment for Long Covid. Key findings include:

  • GPs are unsure of the symptoms of Long Covid
  • GPs are unaware of what support is on offer or how to access it
  • People have mixed experiences of Long Covid support and wait months for appointments at Long Covid clinics
  • Patients are not being offered holistic support
  • Some people, including those with pre-existing conditions and older women, struggled to access support more than others

The report makes a series of recommendations including considering how to help people with Long Covid with daily tasks and ensuring people with other chronic conditions are not overlooked.


New Innovate Awards open for entries

Excellence in health and care innovation will be celebrated at the new Innovate Awards.

Teams or individuals can enter the awards, run by NHS Confederation and the AHSN Network.

There are 11 awards, including categories for patient and public involvement and innovation to tackle health inequalities.

Entries close at midnight on Thursday 23 June.

Innovate Awards

Guide to designing products and services for people affected by dementia

PIF member Alzheimer's Society has released a free guide for anyone designing innovative products and services to tackle the challenges that come with dementia.

The Dementia and co-creation guide aims to inspire and enable designers, researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs to collaborate in a meaningful way with people affected by dementia.

Digital copies can be downloaded from the website. Hard copies are available on request.

Alzheimer's Society

Resources for Men's Health Week

Ahead of Men's Health Week (13-19 June), the Men's Health Forum is encouraging all men to take DIY Man MOT.

The MOT is designed to be a quick and easy health check which men can complete at home.

Anyone who would like to help promote the DIY Man MOT can download a free resource pack here.

The online DIY Man MOT can be accessed via the link below.

Men's Health Forum

NICE sets out further details on menopause guideline update

PIF member NICE has outlined what aspects of menopause care will be updated in upcoming guidance, including areas where more research is needed.

The following areas have been identified for inclusion in the scope:

  • Managing menopausal symptoms, including cognitive behavioural therapy and interventions to manage genitourinary symptoms
  • Effects of hormone replacement therapy on overall health outcomes

The new evidence looked at in the guideline update will cover women, non-binary and trans people with menopause aged 40 and older.

This will include perimenopause and postmenopause.


Event: Empowerment in Health and Care: Where Next?

A free half day conference, Empowerment in Health and Care: Where Next?, is being held from noon to 4pm on 13 June.

The event is co-hosted and supported by Centre for Empowering Patients and Communities, European Patients Forum, Global Health Literacy Academy, European Health Futures Forum, CEREF and the Personalised Care Institute. Topics include:

  • Empowerment and Health Literacy: The role of the workforce in supporting citizens/patients
  • Citizen Empowerment and Health: Could this be a new frontier?
  • The Digital Health Paradox- Does digital widen health inequalities?

Click on the link below to book your place.