Report on future of NHS highlights health inequalities

A report commissioned by The Lancet and the London School of Economics analyses the initial phase of the COVID-19 response.

It highlights growing health inequalities as a cause for concern and calls for greater patient involvement in decision making.

The report outlines several priorities for action, including increased funding and integration, promoting innovation and a public inquiry into the Government's response to COVID-19.

It says improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities are fundamental to the prioritisation of these actions.

It also says the NHS must work differently with patients to achieve shared decision making and realistic expectations.

This includes greater honesty about the limitations of medical care, more patient involvement in decisions, closer partnerships with community groups and voluntary organisations and giving people access to reliable, evidence-based information.

The Lancet

New evidence of effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine

New Public Health England analysis shows individuals who receive a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine have approximately 80% lower risk of death with COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated individuals.

The report also shows protection against death from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rises from approximately 80% after one dose to 97% after two doses.

A separate PHE analysis also confirms the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is highly effective in reducing the risk of hospitalisation, especially in older people.

Public Health England

Study: HIV information acquisition and use among young gay and bisexual black men

A new study aims to investigate HIV information acquisition and use among young black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) and use the internet.

Web-based HIV information was intentionally sought from consumer health information websites, government health information websites and social media. 

Most men incidentally acquired HIV information via advertisements on social media sites and geospatial dating apps, posts on social media sites from people they knew and advertisements.

Although the internet is the top source of information, health care providers were the most preferred and trusted source.

The internet was used because of its ease of accessibility, ability to maintain anonymity and to mitigate intersecting stigmas in health care settings.

Authors concluded future eHealth-based HIV interventions culturally tailored for YBMSM should aim to reduce intersectional stigma at the point of care and support patient-provider communication. 


10 lessons for implementing digital innovations

This article highlights 10 lessons for those working to integrate technology into health and social care services. 

The findings are based on a large-scale evaluation of digital technologies being implemented in health and social care in East London.

Included in the 10 lessons are the importance of co-production and exploring the motivators and barriers that might influence user uptake.

Nuffield Trust

Improve information sheets by involving patients

In this opinion piece for the BMJ, Tessa Richards argues gaps in patient information sheets could be filled with more input from patients.

She outlines her own experiences of emergency hospital admission and discharge information and says best practice should dictate materials are informed by patients as well as professionals.

Tessa also highlights PIF's recent guidance on co-creation.


Answering questions on video consultations

NHS England has updated its guidance on answering common patient questions on video consultations.

The guidance is aimed at secondary care professionals.

NHS England

Study: Impact of Long COVID

A study has collected feedback from members of an online long COVID peer support group to examine the impact of the disease over a six-month period.

Researchers used reports from people in an online support group taken at three and six months after a COVID-19 diagnosis. 

They looked at how well they were functioning in their day-to-day activities, whether they were productive at work, any persisting health symptoms and their quality of life.

During the initial infection an average of 15 symptoms were reported. 

At both three and six months an average of six symptoms were reported.

Although patients reported significant improvements in work productivity, functional status and quality of life between three and six months follow up, a large proportion were still experiencing persistent symptoms.

A large proportion also reported moderate-to-poor health, moderate to severe functional limitations, considerable loss in work productivity, and/or an impaired quality of life. 

ERJ Open Research

Never-smoking lung cancer awareness campaign launched

An awareness campaign for never-smoking lung cancers has been launched by ALK Positive UK.

See Through the Symptoms was developed in collaboration with the British Thoracic Oncology Group.

It provides resources for primary care professionals and signposts information they can direct patients to.

This includes information from PIF members Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

See Through the Symptoms

NICE consultation on indicators for antidepressant prescribing and dementia

NICE has announced the indicators for antidepressant prescribing and dementia consultation period is now open. It is seeking views on:

  • Reviews for patients prescribed a new course of antidepressant medication or in receipt of long term antidepressant medication.
  • Care planning and medication reviews for people with dementia.

The consultation closes at 5pm on 25 May.


Study: Patients as qualitative data analysts

A study aiming to develop a method for involving patients as analysts of qualitative data in a process evaluation has found their specialist knowledge enhanced understanding.

Authors concluded patients’ unique experiences can enhance validity and rigour in data analysis.

They argue the involvement process is crucial in elucidating knowledge and avoiding tokenism. 

As analysts, patients gain an appreciation of research processes, building trust between researchers and patients.

Wiley Online Library

Patient Safety Congress programme announced

HSJ Patient Safety Congress has released the draft programme for this year's event, set to be held from 20-21 September at Manchester Central.

The Patient Safety Congress Poster Competition is also now open for entries.

Judges are looking for well-presented, academic posters describing clear, well-evidenced projects delivering tangible improvements in patient safety. 

There are 10 categories and chosen posters will be showcased virtually to more than 1,000 patient safety experts and advocates.

Patient Safety Congress

Why relationships are key in rare disease patient engagement

In this article, Xperiome’s Jeremy Edwards says real-world data is a vital part of rare disease drug development but to get a true picture of patients’ unmet needs pharma should take a broader view of their lived experiences.

He says he would like to see the industry engaging rare disease patients at every stage of drug development and bringing together patients from across different rare disease areas.


Funding for green social prescribing

At least 7,500 people will be connected to nature for their health and wellbeing thanks to 10 green social prescribing projects across the country.

The projects, funded by cross-partnership Thriving Communities Fund, seek to unlock the potential of green social prescribing.

In particular, they are targeting those most impacted by COVID-19 and health inequalities.

The funding announcement was made this week to tie in with Mental Health Awareness week which is highlighting how access to nature and the outdoors has been a lifeline for many people over the last year.

National Academy for Social Prescribing

Daily updates on vaccine schedule

A physicist is posting daily updates via #UKVaccineQueue about when people can expect their COVID-19 vaccination.

Steve Wooding is the author of the popular UK Vaccine Queue Calculator which has had more than 29 million views since release.

His daily reports include estimated dates for first and second doses, the seven-day vaccination rate, dynamic reports about herd immunity and daily infographics about the vaccination progress – all based on government data. 

Steve is a member of the Institute of Physics and a web content developer for the Omni Calculator Project.

The Omni Calculator Project is a worldwide initiative which sees scientists, doctors, engineers, and researchers work together to build tools helping people make more rational and well-informed decisions.