Health Profile for England 2021 published

Public Health England (PHE) has published its annual Health Profile for England.

This year's profile contains a summary of the wider impact of COVID-19 on health and health inequalities.

In 2020, COVID-19 was the leading underlying cause of death among males, replacing heart disease, and the second largest cause of death among females after dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. 

By the end of June 2021, 132,053 deaths had been registered with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate among England residents.

Other key findings include:

  • Dementia deaths increased and diagnoses declined
  • Health services were used less – half of people with a worsening health condition between May 2020 and January 2021 did not seek treatment
  • Children's development may have suffered
  • There was an increase in alcohol-specific deaths

The report makes comparisons with health in a selection of other countries where possible.


Barriers to wellbeing for migrants during the pandemic

A new report by Doctors of the World and the University of Birmingham reveals refugees, asylum seekers and migrants reported higher levels of bad health and inadequate housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Migration and Vulnerability during the Pandemic: Barriers to Wellbeing also outlines difficulties registering with a GP and accessing remote healthcare services, suggesting significant unmet healthcare needs.

The report makes a series of recommendations including:

  • Making the provision of data or WiFi a priority so people are not excluded from online services
  • Increasing migrant and practitioner understanding of the healthcare system, particularly the charging exception
  • Providing clear guidance on the Government website in different languages

Doctors of the World

Evaluation of video consultations in secondary care

An evaluation of video consultations in secondary care has been published by Edge Health on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement.

It says there were more than three million video consultations in the 12 months up to March 31, 2021.

The report outlines benefits to the increased uptake of video consultations including:

  • A reduction in missed appointments saving an estimated £6m
  • 2.25 million hours of patient waiting time saved
  • 530 years of travel and waiting time for appointments saved

However, there is substantial variation in the uptake of video consultation.

The report also highlights challenges including technology stability, building awareness among patients and the need to have embedded systems in place before current funding arrangements end.

Edge Health

Work to improve vaccine confidence in the black population

The Government has published its third quarterly report on progress to address COVID-19 health inequalities.

It summarises work to improve vaccine uptake among ethnic minorities, including an open letter aimed at black groups, Q&As with trusted clinical voices and a social media campaign tackling vaccine misinformation.

Specific work is also being undertaken to address fertility concerns among women.

The report says, while positive vaccine sentiment has increased over time, there is still hesitancy to be addressed. 

The increase in the black population is substantial but vaccine confidence is still lower in this group than any other. This remains a particular issue for black healthcare workers.


Pharmacy briefing on addressing health inequalities

Public Health England has produced a briefing highlighting the role pharmacy teams can play in helping to address health inequalities.

It says local pharmacies are often people's first point of contact and, for some, their only contact with a healthcare professional. 

The briefing suggests ways for pharmacy teams to make the most of their potential to work with local community and faith leaders, reach out to under-served communities and those with the poorest health outcomes and take on a health inequalities leadership role.


Cancer care for children and young people in Scotland

A cancer care strategy for children and young people has been published by the Scottish Government.

Collaborative and Compassionate Cancer Care, the Cancer Strategy for Children and Young People in Scotland 2021-2026 highlights 10 priorities for the next five years.

They include funding a dedicated health workforce to care for teenagers and young adults and raising the profile of supported care services and holistic care.

Scottish Government

Study: Cancer symptom experience and help-seeking behaviour during COVID-19

A new study aims to understand self-reported potential cancer symptom help-seeking behaviours and attitudes during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of 3,025 participants who experienced a potential cancer symptom, 44.8% had not contacted their GP. 

Those with a disability or who experienced more symptoms were more likely to contact their GP while those who perceived COVID-19 to be the cause of symptoms were less likely to contact their GP.

Barriers included worries about wasting the doctor’s time, putting strain on healthcare services and not wanting to make a fuss. 

Interviewees reported reluctance to contact the GP due to concerns about COVID-19 and fear of attending hospitals and described putting their health concerns on hold.

Authors concluded well-timed and appropriate nationally coordinated campaigns should signal that services are open safely for those with unusual or persistent symptoms.

BMJ Open

WHO publishes new strategy for health and sustainable development

The World Health Organization has published a new European-wide strategy for health and sustainable development.

Drawing light from the pandemic draws on what worked, and what did not work, during COVID-19 to make a series of recommendations.

The aim is to stop a 'catastrophe on the same scale' happening again.


New Medicines Service expands conditions list

The New Medicines Services has expanded the range of conditions it covers.

Additional conditions added from September 1 are: epilepsy, glaucoma, gout, heart failure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, urinary incontinence or retention, atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, unstable angina or heart attack, long-term risk of blood clots or blocked blood vessels and stroke or transient ischaemic attack.


Webinar: Top tips for dyslexia and technology

To help mark Dyslexia Week (4 - 10 October) AbilityNet is hosting a free webinar on dyslexia and technology.

Head of accessibility Dafydd Henke-Reed will examine the digital barriers to avoid and explain good practice for enabling dyslexic users online.

The webinar takes place from 1pm on 5 October.


Bookings open for Self Management Week 2021

Bookings are now open for Self Management Week events which take place from 27 September to 1 October.

A full schedule of events is available to view via the ALLIANCE website.

There is also a toolkit with resources to support Self Management Week activities.