Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities

Public Health England has published an in-depth report on the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities.

Crucially, it makes recommendations on working with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities when producing health information and reducing health inequalities.

The report builds on a review of disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 – which showed an association between belonging to some ethnic groups and the likelihood of testing positive and dying with COVID-19 – with a rapid literature review and external stakeholder engagement.

More than 4,000 people with a range of interests in Black, Asian and minority ethnic community issues took part in engagement activities.

Stakeholders expressed deep dismay, anger, loss and fear in their communities about the emerging data and realities of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups being harder hit by the COVID-19 pandemic than others, exacerbating existing inequalities. 

The report makes several recommendations, including:

  • Fund, develop and implement culturally competent COVID-19 education and prevention campaigns, working in partnership with local Black, Asian and minority ethnic and faith communities
  • Accelerate efforts to target culturally-competent health promotion and disease prevention programmes for non-communicable diseases
  • Ensure COVID-19 recovery strategies actively reduce inequalities caused by the wider determinants of health to create long term sustainable change.

The full report and recommendations are available by clicking on the link below.


Five principles for the next phase of the COVID-19 response

PIF has joined more than 60 VCSE organisations in signing the National Voices statement Nothing about us without us: Five principles for the next phase of the COVID-19 response.

The statement says, as we shift from responding to an acute crisis into ongoing management, a transparent, accountable, and consensual approach is crucial.

It says decision makers must engage with those citizens most affected by both the virus and lockdown restrictions and understand how lives are lived by those who have ‘underlying conditions.’

The five principles in summary are:

  • Actively engage with those most impacted by the change
  • Make everyone matter, leave no-one behind
  • Confront inequality head-on
  • Recognise people, not categories, by strengthening personalised care
  • Value health, care and support equally

The full statement and principles can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

National Voices

Increase in unpaid carers during COVID-19 pandemic

The six charities supporting Carers Week have called on the UK Government to recognise and raise awareness of the role unpaid carers are playing during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure they are supported.

Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness issued a joint statement as figures released for Carers Week showed an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is on top of the 9.1 million unpaid carers who were already caring before the outbreak, bringing the total to 13.6 million.

Polling of more than 4,000 members of the general public over 18 shows unpaid carers have become more visible within society since the pandemic began. 

There is a majority consensus for unpaid carers to receive more support from the Government than they do currently.

Carers Week

Mental health in the aftermath of COVID-19

NHS Reset is calling for mental health services to receive the same level of support as the acute sector to help combat the long-term effects of COVID-19.

It says additional resources for mental health will be necessary as the system prepares to simultaneously meet increased demand, safeguard staff wellbeing and support some of the most vulnerable in our society.  

NHS Reset is advocating for:

  • Support for learnings gained from the national modelling of anticipated demand currently underway
  • Financial commitment to meet additional demand
  • Partnership and system working to ensure adequate service provision
  • Adequate staffing and the wellbeing of the workforce
  • Further development of innovations that have worked well during the current crisis

NHS Confederation

New cervical screening resources

PIF member Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has released new resources to help people understand changes to cervical screening as a result of coronavirus.

The campaign, launched to coincide with Cervical Screening Awareness Week, focuses on what people can expect at their appointment, helping them to understand new safety measures at GP surgeries and current differences in cervical screening programmes across the UK. 

'How it works now' FAQs for women and people with a cervix can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust

Coronavirus Innovations Award

The Self Care Forum has launched an award to celebrate good self care practice for coronavirus initiatives.

Winners will be given a £500 bursary and highlighted as innovators.

Anyone who has implemented an initiative that has made a difference to individuals and the local community is welcome to apply.

This includes, individuals, organisations and healthcare providers.

The closing date for applications is 31 July 2020.

Click the link below for more details and the application form.

Self Care Forum

Digital health predicted as new normal

This pharmaphorum article explores how virtual care, behavioural health, and data uses are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and what their lasting impact might be.

It discusses remote monitoring, mental health apps and how data science competency has been leveraged for the greater good.


Ethical ending of lockdowns: a patient perspective

This International Alliance of Patients' Organizations article calls for patient perspectives to be heard as decisions are made about how to end lockdowns safely.

Chief executive Kawaldip Sehmi says patient advocates must continue shielding the most vulnerable behind evidence-based and effective programmes that safeguard their mental health and wellbeing.  

Kawaldip also calls on governments to provide enhanced evidence-based healthcare services on a case-by-case basis.


Top tips for running a virtual meeting

PCC has released a list of short tips on running a virtual meeting. The tips have been collated from PCC's own experiences of running virtual workshops and events.

They include how to prepare beforehand, advice on running activities and the use of breakout rooms. 


Loneliness, not social isolation, predicts development of dementia 

Older people who feel lonely and have few close relationships may have an increased chance of developing dementia. 

However, being socially isolated with few or infrequent social contacts does not seem to predict dementia risk, researchers found.

The National Institute for Health Research-backed study was carried out before the coronavirus pandemic but the findings are relevant now as those over 70 socially isolate.  

It suggests those who have supportive social relationships with relatives and carers may be protected from cognitive decline. 

The quality of their relationships seems to be more important than how often they meet up in person.

People who have social contact may still feel lonely. The study stresses the importance of supportive relationships for people with early stage dementia.


National Health Data Consent Survey

Researchers based at the University of Cambridge are seeking views on how health data should be shared and used.

The survey looks at three main areas:

  • How NHS and health and social care data should be shared
  • Who should share data
  • What consent should be given

Click on the link below to find out more and complete the survey.


What helps older people take medication correctly?

This blog for those supporting older people who are on multiple medications, including relatives, carers and health professionals, looks at new Cochrane evidence on approaches to help them take medication as prescribed.

The article by Sarah Champman also considers the importance of ‘careful and kind care’.

She discusses a new Cochrane Review of 50 studies on medication-taking ability and adherence in older adults prescribed multiple medications.

Evidently Cochrane

Study: Evaluating the need to address digital literacy among hospitalised patients

Researchers have sought to determine the relationship between health literacy level and technological access, use, and capability among hospitalised patients.

They found the majority of participants with low health literacy had access to technological devices and had used the internet previously, but were unable to perform online tasks without assistance. 

Authors concluded the barriers patients face in using online health information and other health information technology may be more related to online capabilities than technology access. 

They say, when designing and implementing technological tools for hospitalised patients, it is important to ensure that patients across digital literacy levels can both understand and use them.