Update: Government response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review

Minister of State Nadine Dorries has issued a statement with an update on the Government's response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

The review, led by Baroness Cumberlege, was published in July 2020.

It investigated how the health and care system listens and responds to patient concerns and women in particular.

The Minister of State's statement includes updates on each of the review recommendations, including the appointment of a Patient Safety Commissioner which was tabled as an amendment to the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill prior to the Christmas recess.

UK Parliament

The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook

A team of scientific experts, led by the University of Bristol, have published an online guide to help tackle COVID-19 misinformation.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook includes practical tips alongside the latest evidence and information to talk reliably about the vaccines, constructively challenge associated myths and allay fears.

The team is appealing to everyone to understand the facts, follow the guidance, and spread the word.

Topics in the guide include public behaviour and attitudes, policy, facts, and misinformation.

University of Bristol

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the UK

In this article Daniel Freeman discusses how the pandemic has created the ideal conditions for mistrust in vaccines to thrive and how public trust can be maintained.

He shares the key findings of the Oxford Coronavirus Explanations, Attitudes, and Narratives Survey (OCEANS) which aimed to gauge the extent of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

It found 16% of the population are very unsure about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, and another 12% are likely to delay or avoid getting the vaccine. 

One in twenty people describe themselves as anti-vaccination for COVID-19.

University of Oxford

Toolkit for maternity teams to improve communications with Black, Asian and minority ethnic women

NHS England has published a toolkit to help local maternity teams improve communication with diverse groups and communities.

It includes advice on how to develop a targeted communications strategy including:

  • Understanding your audience – both women and staff
  • Embedding co-production through meaningful engagement
  • Diversifying ways of communication including different channels and different voices
  • Using local knowledge to tailor a communications strategy

NHS England

Event: Important Conversations: a roadmap for better end-of-life experiences

PIF member Compassion in Dying is hosting a free webinar where patients, advocates and healthcare professionals will propose their roadmaps to a better death.

The event will discuss whether what we have learned during coronavirus can help create a roadmap for better end-of-life experiences.

It takes place from 3pm to 4.30pm on Thursday 21 January. Click on the link below to register.

Compassion in Dying

Consultation: Reforming the Mental Health Act

The Government has launched a consultation on proposed reforms to the Mental Health Act.

The reforms are designed to empower individuals to have more control over their treatment and to address the disproportionate detention of people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. 

They follow an independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983 which found it did not always work as well as it should for patients, their families and their carers.

The consultation closes on 21 April 2021. Click on the link below for details on how to have your say.


Public health doctors raise concerns about Government plans for Public Health England

A study of doctors working in public health and health protection roles has exposed criticism of the Government’s plans to reorganise Public Health England.

Forty-two per cent of doctors who responded to the survey by the BMA's public health committee said the restructure would make the response to COVID-19 worse or much worse. 

Sixty-three per cent said they believed the new organisation would worsen or much worsen doctors’ ability to respond to other public health issues.

Nearly two thirds said they were not confident that they would be able to contribute to the design of the new system.

Almost three-quarters of respondents said they have no confidence the successor organisation will be sufficiently independent or able to ‘speak truth to power’.


NIHR Collection: Women's Health

The National Institute for Health Research has published a Collection bringing together research on several areas of women’s health.

Topics covered include womb cancer, antenatal MRI, decision aids, breast cancer surgery in older women and hysterectomies. 


Inclusion Health: applying All Our Health

Public Health England has published a new guide to inclusion health to help frontline health and care workers ensure socially-excluded people can access and benefit from services.

The guide is part of All Our Health, a resource helping health and care professionals prevent ill health and promote wellbeing. 

It is designed to help health and care professionals:

  • Understand how inclusion health and social exclusion concepts can be useful for professional practice
  • Know about the health issues socially excluded people in their area are more likely to encounter
  • Understand interventions and activities to support the health and wellbeing of inclusion health groups
  • Consider resources and services available in their area that could help


Dementia wellbeing in the COVID-19 pandemic

NHS England has updated its guidance on dementia wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance, which was originally published on 25 September 2020 was updated on 14 January 2021.

While primarily aimed at clinicians, the guide can also be used by carers and those with dementia.

NHS England

Study: Experiences of pregnant mothers using a social media support service during lockdown

A study has explored the experiences of pregnant women using an existing NHS social media based antenatal support service, Facemums, during the early stages of the UK COVID-19 lockdown.

The women who took part in the study were all very familiar with using social media and the internet as part of their everyday lives and did not start using Facemums because of the pandemic.

However, it was clear women who would ordinarily have been using a range of maternity services found access to Facemums extremely useful.

The majority of participants who responded to the survey directly referred to aspects of information provision in their comments,. 

Facemums groups were seen to fill an important gap in support, as well as offering alternative access to professional care in a time where some felt their queries may be unnecessary or burdensome.

BMJ Open

New infographic on COVID-19 inequities

The Health Equity Initiative has published the second infographic in its COVID-19 is a Health Equity Issue series.

The latest infographic explores key drivers of disease inequities that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and further exacerbated.

It can be downloaded for free by clicking on the link below.

Health Equity Initiative

Event: How to create accessible documents and presentations

AbilityNet is hosting a workshop providing the foundations for creating accessible Microsoft Office Word and PowerPoint files.

The training will take place from 1pm to 2.30pm on Thursday 4 February.

Non-profit organisations are offered a discounted rate. Click on the link below to register.