Healthwatch reveals public concerns during COVID-19

The latest briefing from Healthwatch looks at the key issues the public have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The briefing highlights that, throughout the pandemic, a lack of accessible information has been a key concern.

People have had difficulties finding up-to-date information in the languages or formats they need – especially when advice from Government was frequently changing.

Healthwatch says accessible information and meeting people’s communication needs must be considered from the start and should not be an afterthought. 

The information must also be shared through trusted sources, such as community centres and groups.


New 'Dr Zoom' resources now available

National Voices has added new Dr Zoom resources to its website.

The Doctor Will Zoom You Now was a rapid, qualitative research study designed to understand the patient experience of remote and virtual consultations.

New resources include an easy read guide to making health appointments via computer or phone.

Click here to view the easy read guide.

Click on the link below to view all Dr Zoom resources.

National Voices

Clarity of COVID-19 information and impact on behaviour

A study on the impact of coronavirus shows some groups found it easier to understand information than others.

People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups were less likely to find information clear than those from white backgrounds.

People who normally found health-related information easily and trusted it more were more likely to say the information on what to do was clear.

When it came to trust, people in Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and those finding it more difficult financially were less likely to trust information from health sector and government sources.

Trust in information from health scientists and government scientific advisers about coronavirus was higher amongst those who found health information in general easier to find and clearer.

People who thought scientists were interested in the views of the public were more likely to trust information from health scientists and government scientific advisers.

Both people who found information clear and those who trusted information were more likely to perceive spread-prevention measures as effective.

However, neither group was more likely to take those measures up.

Wellcome Monitor 2020

Consultation: Distributing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 and flu

There is just one day left to have your say in a Government consultation on proposed changes to the Human Medicine Regulations 2012.

The Government says the changes will help with the safe and efficient distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and expanded flu vaccine programme in the UK, along with treatments for COVID-19 and any other diseases that become pandemic.

The consultation closes on at midnight on Friday 18 September.

Click on the link below to view the consultation documents in full and have your say.


The Health Foundation COVID-19 Survey

A poll conducted by IPSOS Mori on behalf of the Health Foundation has found a correlation between clarity of guidance and how well people are thought to be following it.

Just over two thirds (68%) believe the advice on when to stay at home and self isolate is clear and around the same proportion (64%) believe other people are following this advice well. 

Under half (44%) believe the advice on who and how many people they can meet with is clear and around a third (34%) believe other people are following this advice well.

The Health Foundation says this suggests greater clarity may aid adherence to guidance.

Health Foundation

Accessible healthcare: the key role of health literacy

This PharmaVOICE article discusses how health literacy can have a significant bearing on outcomes and argues this means helping patients understand their health and treatments is critical.

It includes comments from those working to improve awareness of health literacy within the pharma industry.

They include Rhonda Henry, VP of patient-centered trials at PPD, who says many areas need to be improved to address low health literacy, including: informed consent, patient materials that explain clinical research, study overviews, product labels and patient instructions.


Study: Online health information seeking by parents

A systematic review has identified 'important gaps' regarding the influence of health-related information on parents’ health behaviour and outcomes. 

The review aimed to examine parent-child online health information seeking and identify barriers and concerns they experience during the search. 

Findings suggest parents worldwide are heavy online users of health-related information for their children across highly diverse circumstances. 

Although parents reported wishing for more guidance from their paediatrician on how to find reliable information, they rarely discussed retrieved information from the web.

Authors concluded follow-up studies are required to offer parents guidance on how to use the web for health purposes in an effective way, as well as solutions to the problems encountered during or after seeking online health information for their child. 


Consultation: Front of pack nutrition labelling

The Department of Health and Social Care is holding a public consultation on front of pack nutrition labelling (FOPNL).

While the UK was an EU member state, the European Food Information to Consumers Regulation established the criteria for the use and form of FOPNL. This will no longer be the case once the transition period ends on December 31.

At this stage, no changes to legislation or policy governing FOPNL in the UK are being proposed.

Instead, views are being sought on the following:

  • How the current recommended FOPNL scheme can be improved
  • New examples of FOPNL being adopted in other countries
  • Whether updated nutrition guidelines should be incorporated on any new FOPNL scheme

Click on the link below to take part in the consultation.

Department of Health and Social Care

Study: Communicating and understanding pain

A new study examines use of pain scales to communicate pain severity via a case study of people with sickle cell disorder (SCD). 

It argues pain communication involves complex social interactions between patients, healthcare professionals and significant others – none of which are included in pain ratings. 

Authors concluded, while very commonly used, pain scales have numerous drawbacks and are prone to profound social and communicative influences that may not be adequately taken into account. 

Key factors included: the meaning of the scale; relationship to social, statistical and psychological factors; and trust. 

This means there is considerable uncertainty inherent in scale use, and considerable scope for future work to explore this uncertainty and improve pain communication.

Journal of Health Psychology

Last chance to enter HSJ Awards 2020

There is just one day left to enter the HSJ Awards 2020.

Entries close at 4pm on Friday 18 September. The ceremony will take place on 17 March 2021.

Click on the link below for more information and to enter.

HSJ Awards