Living with COVID-19 – a dynamic evidence review

The National Institute for Health Research has published a dynamic review of the evidence around ongoing COVID-19 symptoms.

It draws on the lived experience of patients, expert consensus and published evidence, to better understand the impact of ongoing effects of COVID-19 – often called Long COVID.

The steering group concluded there was a widespread perception that people either die, get admitted to hospital or recover within two weeks.

However, it is 'increasingly clear' that for some people there is a distinct pathway of ongoing effects. 

It says there is an urgent need to better understand the symptom journey and clinical risks. 

People, their families and healthcare professionals need realistic expectations about what to expect.

The review also highlights the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on certain parts of the population, including those who are already seldom heard in research.


Launch of Inequalities in Health Alliance

A new coalition of nearly 80 organisations has been brought together by the Royal College of Physicians to campaign for a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities.

In February 2020, following the publication of Health Equity in England: the Marmot review 10 years on, the RCP, along with other Medical Royal Colleges and the Royal College of Midwifery and Nursing, wrote to the prime minister urging him to adopt the recommendations of the report and go a little further.

Now, it has convened a larger group of organisations under the Inequalities in Health Alliance (IHA).

Membership is open to any not-for-profit organisation that has an interest in reducing health inequality, particularly those working in the areas of health, social care and local government.

Click on the link below to find out more and sign up.


Number Confidence Week

This week is the first Number Confidence Week, dedicated to helping children and adults feel good about numbers.

It aims to encourage people to join the 300,000 others who have already started improving their numeracy with the free online tool, the National Numeracy Challenge.

Resources include activities to boost number confidence in adults and to support children with numeracy.

Social media assets for the campaign are available here and you can click on the link below for more information on the campaign and resources.

National Numeracy

Brain tumours and COVID-19: the patient and caregiver experience

The International Brain Tumour Alliance has released a plain language summary of its international survey on how COVID-19 was affecting brain tumour patients and their families.

The survey, in seven languages, was done in collaboration with the Society for Neuro-Oncology COVID-19 Task Force. 

In total, 1,989 participants completed the survey from 33 countries including 1,459 brain tumour patients and 530 caregivers.

Patients rated healthcare professionals, specifically doctors and nurses, as their most trusted source of information, followed by brain tumour patient groups. 

Yet only 26% of patients had discussed with their healthcare provider what a diagnosis of COVID-19 might personally mean to them. 

Most patients and caregivers felt the information provided to them was sufficient and helpful. 

But among those patients who said they wanted more information, there was a desire to know how COVID-19 would specifically affect them and their brain tumour.


Fewer than one in ten patients has online access to GP medical records

Fewer than one in ten general-practice patients across England are able to access their medical records online according to a new article.

Public reports a total of about 5.7 million people are currently able to access their records through their GP surgery’s clinical system of choice. 

This equates to 9.57% of all registered patients.

The figures were revealed by Lord Bethell, minister for innovation at the Department of Health and Social Care, in answering a written parliamentary question from Liberal Democrat peer Lord Allan.


Why 72% of patients don’t feel listened to by pharma

In this article, Claus Møldrup explores research showing patients want their voice to be heard more by pharma.

Claus cites a 2020 survey from of 3,346 users of prescription and over the counter medicines from the UK and the Nordics.

It found more than three-quarters of patients do not trust advice from pharmaceutical companies about their medication and 72% do not feel listened to by pharmaceutical companies.

Claus says, in direct opposition to the emerging era of personalised healthcare, medicine information leaflets are one-size-fits-all documents that fail to reflect a patient’s individual circumstances and experiences. 

In addition, patients have no opportunity to feed back or pose questions.


Elderly not seeking help for potential cancer symptoms

A survey of 1,000 GPs conducted by PIF member Cancer Research UK has revealed concerns that older adults are not seeking help for potential cancer symptoms.

Fifty-three per cent of GPs say they are concerned fewer older adults are contacting them with symptoms compared to before the pandemic.

Other groups they were worried about hearing less from included patients with learning difficulties (40%), those whose first language is not English (35%), people from poorer backgrounds (23%), ethnic minorities (22%) and those with existing health conditions (21%).

Cancer Research UK

Animation: Caring for family or friends with dementia

A new animation aims to raise awareness of the grief family and friends may experience while caring for someone living with dementia. 

It has been developed for a wide audience including family and friend carers, along with their friends, family and social network as well as healthcare professionals.

The animation was developed by Dr Kirsten Moore at UCL as part of her senior fellowship from PIF member the Alzheimer's Society.


Study: Post‐discharge medicines management

A study exploring the experiences of older patients and their family carers as they enacted post‐discharge medicines management highlights a need for better communication.

It found conversations between participants and healthcare professionals about medicines changes often lacked detail, which disrupted some participants’ knowledge and medicines management capabilities.

Participants experienced gaps in their post‐discharge medicines management which they had to bridge through implementing their own strategies or by enlisting support from others. 

Areas for improvement were identified, mainly through better communication about medicines changes and wider involvement of patients and family carers in their medicines‐related care during the hospital‐to‐home transition.

Wiley Online Library

Study: Characteristics of App users seeking COVID-19-related digital health information

A new study aims to describe the characteristics of people who use digital health tools to address COVID-19-related concerns.

It found those who used digital tools to seek health information and services related to COVID-19 were relatively young and predominantly female. 

Researchers said the data suggested digital tools provided information and advice that assisted users in making health decisions. 

These tools may therefore reduce the burden on health care systems during times when resources are limited and may help minimise unnecessary physical interactions. 

However, research on health care use and health outcomes following digital health tool use is needed to conclusively demonstrate this potential.


Consultation on NICE topic selection

NICE has launched a consultation on proposals to change how it selects topics for guidance development.

Focusing on medicines, medical devices and diagnostic topics, this is the first in a series of public consultations on changes to its methods and processes.

The consultation closes on 19 November. Click on the link below to take part.


Event: Digital Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19

The 2020 MindTech Symposium (#MindTech2020) will be held online as a virtual event for the first time. 

This year's topic is Digital Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19. Sessions include:

  • The Digital Mental Health Response to COVID-19: A Global Perspective
  • A Rapid Digital Response to a Global Pandemic
  • Virtual PPI: the way forward?
  • Rethinking mental health services for a brave new world post-COVID-19

Sessions will be held on 2 and 3 December. Registration for this free event closes on 25 November.

Click on the link below for a full programme and to register.