Core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond

The Health and Social Care Select Committee has released its report Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond.

A key area raised in the report is communication over two main issues – treatment delays and cancellations and shielding – mirroring PIF's recent Covid Choices survey.

It says quality of communication about delays and cancellations to referrals and appointments for critical health services has been variable, adding to the burden on patients.

The inquiry also heard some patients were left feeling confused by the information they received and frustrated by the lack of clarity on what practical measures they needed to take to adhere to shielding advice.

The committee has recommended NHS England & Improvement review the directions given to NHS Trusts on communicating with patients about the progress of their treatment and important medical guidance in any future spike or second wave. 

As part of this review, NHSE/I has been asked to make an assessment of its and hospitals’ communication with patients and provide the committee with an update by the end of October 2020. 

It has also been asked to address how it will communicate to ensure the public gets the message that the NHS is open and that those who have fears of catching COVID-19 in medical settings are not discouraged from accessing medical treatment.

Health and Social Care Committee

National Voices publishes two reports on patient experience during COVID-19

A new report brings together data from more than 66,000 responses to National Voices members' surveys on what people with health and care needs experienced during the first wave of COVID-19.

What We Know Now shows many people experienced substantial harm and distress, in large numbers and across all groups and conditions.

The most widespread issues for people with long-term health and care needs were wellbeing, access to medication, getting food and access to healthcare.

Problems with getting or understanding information were also raised as concerns in the majority of surveys.

As a result of the findings, National Voices has made some key recommendations:

  • Do everything possible to avoid shutting down health and care systems that people with long-term conditions rely on
  • Listen to people and understand their experiences to minimise risks and protect from harm we  did not know about before
  • In the event of further national advice to keep those vulnerable safe, provide better information and support for vulnerable and shielded individuals and their families
  • Keep charities and the people they work with at the centre of future planning and responses

This week National Voices also released its What We Need Now report, including as series of I Statements – simple expressions of how patients hope to be treated.

They include: " I am given information that is relevant to me in a way I understand."

With many of the findings and recommendations mirroring PIF's own Covid Choices survey findings, we are looking forward to working with National Voices to address these issues.

National Voices

Patient group experiences of the pandemic

Patient View has published the results of a worldwide survey of 1,720 patient groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey looked at patient group perceptions of how coronavirus has affected patients, pharmaceutical activities and patient organisations themselves.

It found patients were left feeling vulnerable and confused about whether they would receive not just medical treatment but all of the other services required for continued health.

There was a perception that patients living in the community were being 'side lined' by their healthcare systems. 

The survey also asked the groups to assess the effectiveness of their country's government in tackling COVID-19.

The UK ranked 23rd out of 27 countries with 39% of patient groups saying the government is doing a 'very effective' or 'effective' job at tackling the pandemic.

Patient View

PRSB to start new shared decision-making project  

PRSB is bringing together patients, the public, clinicians, professionals and vendors to develop a new shared decision-making standard. 

It has launched a project to standardise shared decision-making in orthopaedics, in partnership with PIF,  the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, NHS England Personalised Care Team, NHSX, the Centre for Peri-Operative Care and EIDO. 

A working group will discuss what needs to be included in the standard, so information about care and treatment options can be discussed, questions addressed and decisions recorded. 

Standardising the process will ensure information can be shared consistently using any digital systems.  

For more information on getting involved contact [javascript protected email address].


Holistic medication reviews for thousands of patients

Primary care networks are to offer thousands of patients a holistic review of their medication to help them stay healthy and remain independent.

New NHS England guidance has been released to support clinical pharmacy teams with implementation of the structured medication review. 

It outlines how each PCN will identify and prioritise patients who would benefit from a review including those:

  • In care homes
  • With complex and problematic polypharmacy, specifically those on 10 or more medications
  • On medicines commonly associated with medication errors
  • With severe frailty, who are particularly isolated or housebound or who have had recent hospital admissions and/or falls
  • Using potentially addictive pain management medication

NHS England

What do we mean when we say digital inclusion?

In this blog, Grace Beaumont, development officer at the ALLIANCE, raises a series of questions about digital inclusion.

She then links to an ALLIANCE Live podcast with representatives from Aberdeen Foyer IMPACT project, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability about the impact of digital exclusion.


Study: Perinatal distress during COVID-19

An analysis of an online parenting forum has found women in the perinatal period are 'uniquely impacted' by coronavirus pandemic and need targeted information. 

The authors found general information on COVID-19 safe behaviours did not meet the needs of women who were pregnant, birthing or postpartum. 

They concluded a lack of nuanced and timely information may exacerbate the risk of psychological and psychosocial distress.

The authors recommended a central repository of targeted, consistent, accessible and timely information and compensatory social and emotional support.


NHS Reset: a new direction for health and care

A new report by the NHS Confederation reflects members' views on NHS Reset and sets out a possible direction for the NHS in the future.

NHS Reset: a new direction for health and care identifies five factors it believes will help fundamentally reset the way health and care is planned, commissioned and delivered: 

  • Honesty and realism
  • Extra funding
  • A lighter, leaner culture
  • Integrating health and care
  • Tackling health inequalities

It says COVID-19 has – and will continue to – widen the health inequalities gap. 

The report calls for the building of an NHS prioritising population health approaches. 

Members and partners can share their views on the report by emailing [javascript protected email address] or using #NHSReset on Twitter.

NHS Confederation

COVID-19 drives a new era of self-care

This pharmaphorum article discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic is encouraging people to take their health into their own hands.

It cites research from GSK Consumer Healthcare and Ipsos MORI which showed people in the UK are increasingly self-educating and forming new habits to improve everyday health since the pandemic.

The survey found 77% of people consider it important to take their health into their own hands in order not to burden the healthcare system.

Almost half of all Britons (48%) said they intend to use pharmacists more in the future to give them advice about how to treat minor health concerns.


'Digital isn’t perfect, but neither is face-to-face'

In this article for The King's Fund, Pritesh Mistry discusses the benefits and drawbacks of both digital and face-to-face healthcare.

Pritesh discusses several digital care options beyond video, including telephone conversations and electronic messaging.

He says the quality of digital care can be improved through a combination of training and making best use of the unique digital capabilities. 

The King's Fund

NICE COVID-19 rapid guidelines updates

NICE has made minor updates to its COVID-19 rapid guidelines on dialysis service delivery and delivery of systemic anticancer treatments.

It has also produced a briefing on corticosteroids in critically ill COVID-19 patients which can be viewed by clicking on the link below.


Shame, stigma and COVID-19

This article by Shame and Medicine discusses how shame and stigma have become prominent features of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It says this is of particular concern when considering the uneven distribution of social power, resources and health for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and how these inequalities are intimately related to experiences of stigma and shame.

The article says understanding the concrete harms done by shaming and the behaviours associated with experiencing stigma is paramount to understand the overall harms caused by the COVID-19 virus and public health interventions that are put in place to mitigate its negative effects.

Shame and Medicine

Online event: What we need to prepare the NHS and social care for the future

The Health Foundation is holding its first REAL Challenge Lecture from 9.30am to 11am on 16 October.

The REAL Centre (Research and Economic Analysis for the Long term) aims to help ensure health and social care policy decisions are grounded in facts and strong quantitative evidence.

In this inaugural lecture, Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the REAL Centre’s oversight board, will outline how some of the key challenges in health and social care are exacerbated by a short-term approach and why longer-term planning will help. 

Expert respondents will then offer their replies to Sir Andrew’s remarks before all speakers take part in a panel discussion.

Click on the link below to book your place.

The Health Foundation