People with learning disabilities had higher death rate from COVID-19

The death rate of people with learning disabilities was up to six times higher than the general population in England during the first wave of the pandemic according to a Public Health England study.

Deaths of people identified as having learning disabilities with COVID-19 in England in the Spring of 2020 examined data from The English Learning Disabilities Mortality Review and NHS England’s COVID-19 Patient Notification System.

It found 451 per 100,000 people registered as having a learning disability died with COVID-19 between 21 March and 5 June.

This was 4.1 times higher than the general population after adjusting for other factors such as age and sex.

However, not all deaths in people with learning difficulties are registered on these databases.

Researchers estimated the real rate may have been as high as 692 per 100,000 – 6.3 times higher.

People with learning disabilities are likely to have had difficulty recognising symptoms of COVID-19, or following government advice about getting tested, self-isolation, social distancing and infection prevention and control, the report says. 

It may also be more difficult for people caring for them to recognise the onset of symptoms if these cannot be communicated.


NICE to become single point of access for COVID-19 guidance and advice

NICE has announced it is to host a new, single point of advice on caring for people with COVID-19 and the management of COVID-19 in a variety of clinical settings.

The initiative will see NICE bringing together NHS England and NHS Improvement’s specialty guides with its own rapid guidelines. 

Together they will create a single point of access to national advice on the clinical management of COVID-19 to support frontline health and care staff across the country.

The initial phase, completed earlier this month, saw 24 NHS England and NHS Improvement specialty guides transferred over to NICE. 

NICE will now begin the process of mapping the recommendations from the NHS England and NHS Improvement guides against its own suite of rapid guidelines and integrating them where possible. 

As an interim step, the specialty guides will be refreshed to amend any broken hyperlinks and correct any factual inaccuracies.     


ABPI launches #ValuingVaccines campaign

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has launched a month-long campaign to highlight the role vaccines play in improving public health and saving lives.

It has created a suite of free-to-download resources which can be used to raise public awareness of the benefits of vaccinations.

The industry body is asking third sector organisations to support #ValuingVaccines by sharing the graphics on social media.

All resources can be accessed by clicking on the link below.

Valuing Vaccines

How can we improve the quality of health information apps?

In this article, Dr Knut Schroeder discusses how health information providers and app developers can ensure health information apps are of the best possible quality and address users’ needs.

He highlights three key actions for success – involve users, use a consistent process and external valuation.

Dr Knut highlights several certification processes to help check quality, including the PIF TICK.

Insights Care

Study: Analysis of scientific publications during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic

A study aims to explore the published scientific literature on COVID-19 and map the research evolution during the early phase of the pandemic.

The authors discuss and present the temporal changes in the available COVID-19 research during the early phase of the pandemic. 

It is hoped the findings may aid researchers and policy makers to form a structured view of the current COVID-19 evidence base and provide further research directions.


COVID-19 and health equity infographics

Health Equity Initiative is publishing a series of infographics designed to establish COVID-19 as a health equity issue.

The first infographic in the series, COVID-19 is a Health Equity Issue: The Pandemic and Essential Workers, is available to download now by clicking on the link below.

Health Equity Initiative

Campaign to protect older people during second wave

The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) has launched a UK-wide campaign to raise awareness of issues critical to protecting older people during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition to an open letter to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, BGS is asking healthcare professionals to write to their elected official to alert them to key lessons from the first wave that must now be applied.

The BGS is urging the Government, the NHS and care organisations in all parts of the country to consider the following issues:

  • Policy decisions and allocation of resources must be made on the basis of evidence and need, not age.
  • Address pent-up demand for NHS and social care services.
  • Care homes must be supported. 
  • Acknowledge the harm to physical and mental health caused by lockdown.
  • Recognise the work of NHS and social care staff. 

British Geriatrics Society

Are rapid progress and patient engagement mutually exclusive in a COVID-19 world?

This article discusses why patient participation cannot and should not be left behind in the rush of research and discoveries taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It reports on discussions which took place during the first session of this year’s Pioneering Partnerships conference, organised by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the National Institute for Health Research and the Association of Medical Research Charities.

Speakers said the industry must do everything it can to ensure the patient voice gains rather than loses importance.


Flu vaccination messaging resources

Public Health England has published a new two-page leaflet to help answer questions on flu vaccine availability.

It explains there is sufficient vaccine available for all eligible groups. 

It also highlights why a person who is eligible may be asked to wait for a vaccine while reassuring them they will be able to have one before flu season starts.

Public Health England

Communicating to patients about cervical screening

PIF member Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has published a list of tips and video to help healthcare professionals communicate with and support patients through cervical screening.

The 10 tips cover everything from making patients aware appointments are still available to establishing a rapport while wearing PPE.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust

NICE draft guidance on the diagnosis and management of ME/CFS

NICE has published its draft updated guideline on the diagnosis and management of myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy)/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

The draft guideline recognises that ME/CFS is a complex, multi-system, chronic medical condition where there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to managing symptoms. 

It stresses the need for a tailored, individualised approach to care that allows joint decision making and informed choice.


Self Care Coronavirus Innovation Awards

The Self Care Forum has announced the winner of its Self Care Coronavirus Innovation Awards as part of Self Care Week 2020.

Sutton Women’s Centre was named the winner for its 'incredible empowerment' of vulnerable families during lockdown.

The following projects and organisations were highly commended:

  • Fresh Minds Education and Northern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Age UK Lewisham and Southwark’s Safe and Independent Living team
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Team, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Eastern Academic Health Sciences Network and Aseptika Limited
  • Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group

The awards received 43 entries which will be made available as case studies on the Self Care Forum website.

Self Care Forum

Event: Mental health and COVID-19: The future

As part of the Institute for Policy and Engagement's Nottingham Digitally Engaged 2020 fortnight, an online panel discussion will offer insight from professionals and academics on the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on mental health.

A panel of experts from the Institute of Mental Health will be discussing the impact of COVID-19 on our mental and physical health, the wellbeing of the nation’s workforce and how the pandemic has required a new way of thinking to solve healthcare and technological problems.

The free event takes place from noon to 1pm on Friday 27 November. Click on the link below to book your place.

Institute for Policy and Engagement

Event: Making the most of video group clinics

Redmoor Health is hosting a free one-hour webinar discussing the value of video group clinics as part of outpatient transformation.

The event will provide the opportunity to experience the video group clinic process and explore how you might use video group clinics.

It takes place from 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Tuesday 15 December. Click on the link below to book your place.

Redmoor Health