Rare Diseases Action Plan to tackle health inequalities

A Rare Diseases Action Plan for England has been published in a bid to tackle health inequalities.

It builds on the first plan, published in 2022, which developed digital tools to help healthcare staff access information on rare diseases.

The new plan lists 13 actions developed with the rare diseases community.

They focus on faster diagnosis, increased awareness of rare diseases among healthcare staff, better coordination of care and improved access to specialist care, treatments and drugs.

Although rare diseases are individually rare, they are collectively common, with 1 in 17 people affected by a rare disease at some point in their lives.

Find out more about the plan via the Gov.UK website here.

Study: GP views on patient record access

A new study exploring GP opinions on patient access to their full health record has found they are 'overwhelmingly sceptical' about benefits to both patients and surgeries.

GPs believed patient access would lead to extra work for them, reduced efficiency and candour in note taking, as well as increased patient anxiety and risks to patient safety.

There were also fears about increased litigation risks and a lack of legal guidance to GPs about how to manage documentation.

Authors concluded more extensive, qualitative research is required to understand the perspectives of patients in England after experiencing access to their web-based records. 

Further research is also needed to explore objective measures of the impact of patient access to their records on health outcomes, clinician workload and changes to documentation.

Read the study findings in full here via the JMIR website.

Campaign encourages people to visit pharmacies for minor illnesses

The NHS has launched a new campaign after polling revealed just 1 in 5 people would visit their local pharmacy for advice on a minor illness.

The campaign aims to highlight how high-street pharmacies can support patients with non-urgent health advice for minor conditions including coughs, aches and colds.

The ads are inspired by films, with titles including 'Earache strikes back'.

Read more about the campaign via the NHS England website.

An LGBT+ breast-screening campaign driven by co-production

In this blog, Stewart O'Callaghan, founder of Live Through This, outlines how an LGBT+ breast-screening campaign was driven by co-production.

They share key findings from co-production sessions in a queer bookshop, final campaign messages and feedback from the community.

Read the blog in full via the National Voices website here.

Call for improved information on pelvic floor health

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is calling for action to reduce the number of women living with poor pelvic floor health.

New data reveals more than 60% of UK women have at least one symptom of poor pelvic floor health.

Despite this, nearly one in four women have never done pelvic floor exercises that can prevent and improve symptoms.

The RCOG is calling for improved information and education about pelvic floor health throughout women’s lives.

Read more via the RCOG website here.

Study: Understanding the support needs of women to participate in breast screening

A new study exploring the support needs of women to encourage them to take part in breast screening identified 7 key themes:

  • Trusting that I will be respected
  • Reassurance about my experience
  • Accessibility and convenience
  • Practical support
  • Addressing cultural diversity
  • Information tailored to individual needs
  • Raising awareness and understanding of breast screening

Some disparity between responses was found based on ethnicity, language, disability and previous attendance of breast screening.

Access the full study findings via the Wiley Online Library here.

Watch: Youth-led projects to tackle misinformation

A recent session at the Global Youth Mobilization virtual event profiled young people leading solutions to misinformation.

The session highlighted the achievements of three youth-led projects.

This was followed by insights from thematic experts, including Tina Purnat from the World Health Organization.

Watch the session via YouTube here.

'No more bodiless hands' – approach to photography

In this blog, Luke Doyle from Compassion in Dying explains why the organisation has changed its approach to photography.

He says Compassion in Dying steers clear of euphemisms when talking about death and its imagery should do the same.

The blog explains key changes, the reasons behind them and exceptions.

Read the full blog via the Compassion in Dying website here.

Targeted community engagement in spaces susceptible to misinformation

In this Frontiers article, the authors discuss the development of a conceptual model for community engagement to tackle misinformation.

The framework suggests how activities might be engineered as interventions to fit the specific needs of marginalised audiences, to undermine the invasion and spread of misinformation. 

Read the full article via the Frontiers in Communication website here.

Be Part of Research now available through the NHS App

Be Part of Research, the online service making it easy for people to find and take part in health and care research, is now available through the NHS App in England.  

The service, run by the NIHR, helps members of the public understand what research is, what it might mean to take part and what research is currently happening across the UK.  

Through the Be Part of Research website, people can search for trials and studies taking place for particular health conditions in locations that are easy for them to get to. 

Find out more via the NIHR website here.

Call for action to prevent avoidable harm in hysteroscopy

This Patient Safety Learning blog outlines key safety concerns for hysteroscopy procedures and outlines six calls for action.

It says when patients are given all of the available information, offered appropriate pain relief options and feel treated with respect and dignity, experiences of a hysteroscopy procedure can be good.

However, there are currently several barriers to this, including a lack of informed consent.

Read the full blog via the Patient Safety Learning website here.

Public views of health inequalities: animation and blog

A new animation and blog explore public views on health inequalities.

Researchers and members of the public spoke to different people about what health inequalities mean to them. 

The key messages from these conversations are revealed in the 3-minute animation

Katie Clarke-Day, co-production and lived experience lead at the Coalition for Personalised Care, has also written a blog on her own experience of reducing avoidable hospital admissions and health inequalities. 

The project was funded by the Tilly Hale Award from Newcastle University and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

Read more about the project via the UNFAIR Google website here.

New quality standard identifies improvements in UTI diagnosis

PIF member NICE has published an updated quality standard on urinary tract infections (UTIs) in adults.

The updated standard says healthcare professionals should diagnose women under 65 with a UTI if they have 2 or more key urinary symptoms without the need for a dipstick test.

Professionals should exclude any other causes of urinary symptoms and consider warning signs of other conditions such as sepsis and cancer when diagnosing a UTI.

Read the updated standard in full via the NICE website here.