ONS figures show higher mortality rates in ethnic minority groups during Omicron

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows mortality rates were higher for many ethnic minority groups when Omicron was the main COVID-19 variant.

Between 10 January 2022 and 16 February 2022, rates of deaths involving COVID-19 were higher for many ethnic minority groups compared with the White British group.

This was similar to patterns observed earlier in the third wave of the pandemic.

Men in the Bangladeshi ethnic group had the highest rate of death involving COVID-19 – 2.7 times higher than men in the White British ethnic group.

This was followed by Pakistani males, 2.2 times, and Black Caribbean males, 1.6 times. 

Women in the Pakistani ethnic group had the highest rate of death involving COVID-19 – 2.5 times higher than in the White British ethnic group.

This was followed by Bangladeshi females, 1.9 times, and females in the mixed ethnic group, 1.4 times.


Experts share priorities for Women's Health Strategy

Experts have called for a greater focus on care for older women and improved support services for people experiencing pregnancy loss to help shape the government’s first Women’s Health Strategy for England.

A total of 436 organisations and experts in women’s health – including from the charity sector, academia, professional bodies, clinicians and royal colleges – responded to a call for evidence.

The responses will be used to inform the government’s approach to tackling gender health inequality. Topics highlighted were:

  • Menstrual health and gynaecological conditions
  • Fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and maternal health, including women not feeling listened to during and after pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Gynaecological and other cancers, including barriers to accessing high-quality, up-to-date information on risk factors
  • Mental health and its interaction with other health conditions
  • Healthy ageing, including the need to increase focus on the health needs of older women and emphasise women may experience the same conditions as men in different ways
  • Violence against women and girls


A role for health systems to address the misinformation crisis

A report, published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, argues the public’s health increasingly depends upon a healthy information environment.

As misinformation circulates faster and at scale, people and communities must be immersed in high-quality information of public health importance.

The communication context must underscore the trustworthiness and importance of that quality.

However, the authors say, the information environment is an under-recognised social determinant of health .

They conclude health systems should screen to better understand the information environment in which patients are immersed.

Interventions, applying best practices learned from vaccine hesitancy, can then be offered for patients who screen positive for immersion in an unhealthy information environment.

Sage Journals

Survey: NICE real-world evidence framework

PIF member NICE is consulting on its new real-world evidence framework.

The framework describes best practices for the planning, conduct, and reporting of real-world evidence studies.

The draft framework, an online survey and contact details for further queries are available via the link below. 

The consultation closes on 29 April. A revised version of the framework will be published on 23 June.


Mapping patient experience evidence

The Patient Experience Library has created visualisations of evidence gathering in two areas – people's experiences of COVID-19 and people's experiences of digital healthcare.

It found some parts of the evidence base were saturated.

Others, particularly around areas of health inequality, were persistently thin.

The mapping project, carried out in partnership with Plymouth University, was a proof of concept exercise.

Now, the Patient Experience Library hopes to build on it, mapping the evidence base by condition, service type and socioeconomic group.

It also wants to improve functionality of the map and is approaching national NHS bodies to ask if they are willing to work on moving the project forward.

Patient Experience Library

New information sharing standard to support social prescribing

PIF member PRSB has published a new information sharing standard for social prescribing. 

The standard, commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement, aims to support:

  • People providing social prescribing services
  • Individuals experiencing social prescribing
  • The information needed for secondary purposes

It was developed in consultation with a wide range of professionals, including link workers and GPs, and people who use services.

Through consultation workshops and a survey they agreed what information is essential to share to provide well-coordinated care.


New images showing older and disabled people

A new, publicly accessible image library of more than 300 photos depicting older and disabled people getting active has been published.

The library, created by the Centre for Ageing Better and Get Yourself Active at Disability Rights UK, aims to challenge pervasive negative stereotypes.

It contains positive and authentic images of older and disabled people – and the intersectionality between the two – getting active. 

The photos also reinforce the important notion that not all disabilities are visible by including a range of experiences often not recognised within society.

Centre for Ageing Better

Raising awareness of NHS rape and sexual assault service

The Scottish Government has launched a campaign to raise awareness of a dedicated national NHS service offering choices in healthcare, forensic examination and support after a rape or sexual assault.

The national service will be implemented across all health boards.

It will allow those aged 16 and over to self-refer for a forensic health examination at a Sexual Assault Response Coordination Service (SARCS) whether or not they wish to report to the police.

The campaign will run across digital channels and outdoor advertising sites.

It encourages people who have experienced a sexual crime to visit the NHS Inform website for information.

Scottish Government

New conjunctivitis fact sheet

PIF member the Self Care Forum has published a new fact sheet on conjunctivitis. 

The fact sheet is part of the Forum's collaboration with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).

It will support the first module in the NHS CPCS Clinical Training programme, which is free for pharmacists in England.

The fact sheet helps patients understand what to expect when they have conjunctivitis and when to seek medical help.

Self Care Forum

Survey: Women with pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain

The Pelvic Partnership has launched a survey for women who have experienced pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) in the last two years.

The survey should take two minutes to complete and closes at the end of April.

Results will be used to respond more proactively to women with PGP and improve healthcare options.

Pelvic Partnership

Webinar: Social prescribing and supporting refugees

NHS England and the National Academy for Social Prescribing are hosting a webinar on supporting refugees.

The aim is to share good practice and equip social prescribing services and link workers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to practically support refugees.

The webinar takes place from 1.30pm to 2.30pm on 27 April.

NHS England