Published Thu, 2012-01-05 14:04; updated 4 years ago.

Health Information News December 2011

This newsletter is intended for staff who provide health information to the public across the West Midlands to keep informed of latest news and resources available in the Health Information field. These newsletters will now be archived on the NHS local website under the section for EQUIP newsletters - you would like to submit a news item – email

I am now Twittering as @equipNHS – I intend to post a lot of these sorts of news items and events on an (almost) daily basis – so ‘follow’ @equipNHS.


Focus on Winter Health:


The Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2012/13 - The operating framework for the NHS in England 2012/13 sets out the business and planning arrangements for the NHS. Operating framework Department of Health - publications. PiF, Patient Information Forum, has published a summary of the key patient themes in the Outcomes Framework: The NHS Outcomes Framework 2012-13 sets out the changes that have been made to the indicators in the NHS Outcomes Framework and is designed to help NHS organisations to start to think through what to focus on outcomes means in practical terms. There are a number of key themes that relate to patient experience and choice. PiF's Chair, Mark Duman, has read through the Outcomes Framework and selected the patient related themes. To see a summary of these click through to the website.

Making it happen: wellbeing and the role of local government - This report is based on a series of conversations carried out on behalf of the Healthy Communities Programme to explore what ‘wellbeing’ means to the work of councils. The views of senior government, NHS officers and elected members were invited in guided conversation workshop sessions and one-to-one conversations facilitated by the new economics foundation between July and September 2011. The views that emerged have been used to produce recommendations about how councils can best work to promote the wellbeing of their local residents. Report Local Government Improvement and Development - publications

Public health: twelfth report of session 2010-12 - This report examines the Government reforms proposed for public health. It concludes that the new public health body for England should be an independent champion for public health standards and needs. It also makes further recommendations for the organisation and provision of public health services.

Future Forum interim findings on information -The NHS Future Forum has published interim advice on patient information.  The Forum’s final reports will be published before the end of the year. The interim findings on information include that information for patients, service‐users and carers is an integral part of care. Alongside suitable support, this will empower patients, allowing them to take more control of their health and to improve self-care.

European study shows the impact of poor health literacy on use of services, hospitalisation and disease prevention -Almost half of all Europeans show inadequate or problematic levels of health literacy, according to the results of the European Health Literacy Survey published this week. The survey provided first-time population data on health literacy across eight European countries. It measured the ability of people to access, understand, analyse, and apply health information to take informed decisions allowing them to maintain their health, prevent diseases and seek treatment in case of illness. The results show that on average 47% of people surveyed across these eight countries have limited health literacy and also illustrates that the lower the health literacy in a particular country, the poorer the health of its citizens. Read more

Health Profiles 2011 Area Comparison ChartsThese Red-Amber-Green Charts show the data used in the 2011 local authority and county health profiles and present area comparisons. These charts are based on the former Strategic Health Authority areas. Also available to download charts from 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Public attitudes to antibiotics - The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has published the results of research it commissioned into people's attitudes towards antibiotics. Over half of the 1,700 people interviewed who contacted a doctor or nurse (53%) went expecting antibiotic treatment and 25% of those who responded said they believed that antibiotics work on most coughs and colds. However 70% of people interviewed recognised that antibiotic resistance is a problem in British hospitals and a similar number acknowledged that resistance to antibiotics could affect them and their family. To help increase public understanding of when antibiotics are beneficial in respiratory tract infections, and when members of the public need to visit their GP with these illnesses, the HPA has devised a list of ‘top ten tips’ about what patients should be aware of when they are suffering with cold and flu symptoms and think they need antibiotics. There is also a BBC News report.

Social media and mental health services -This Briefing, Joining in the conversation - social media and mental health services looks at social media innovations underway in healthcare as a whole and highlights case studies from Mental Health Network member organisations. The dramatic impact that social media has had over the last five years on how people communicate, both with individuals and with organisations, cannot be underestimated. Several health and mental health organisations are using social media to provide support on a range of issues such as depression, alcohol and drug dependency, and anxiety disorders. This Briefing looks at social media innovations underway in healthcare as a whole and highlights case studies from Mental Health Network member organisations.

Study looks at how online social networks affect health behaviours-This study uses online social networks and web-based fitness applications to show that people with similar characteristics are more likely to encourage each other to adopt healthy behaviors. Researchers found that study participants who were grouped with buddies of similar characteristics were more likely to use a diet diary and pursue healthy behaviors than participants in a diverse group of buddies.

Telehealth and telecare help people with long term conditions make decisions about their care and stay out of hospital -The whole system demonstrator programme was set up by the Department of Health to show what telehealth and telecare is capable of - to help people have access to services and information that help them make their own decisions. Its aim was to provide a clear evidence base to support important investment decisions and show how the technology supports people to live independently, take control and be responsible for their own health and care. The first results of the programme were published this week and show significant reductions in the number of emergency admissions and days spent in hospital and more strikingly they also demonstrate a 45% reduction in mortality rates. Read more

Perspectives on telehealth and telecare - The King’s Fund has published ‘Perspectives on telehealth and telecare’. This paper, the third in a series of briefing papers related to WSDAN (Whole System Demonstrator Action Network), examines the experiences of the network’s 12 member sites in implementing telehealth and telecare. It examines the challenges and barriers they faced, and the progress they made, in developing and adopting new technologies. See also the related King’s Fund blogand their updated telehealth and telecare topic section.

Health Foundation report asks 'Can changing clinician–patient interactions improve healthcare quality?' -This scoping report from the Health Foundation is the result of a study which looked at improving understanding of the dynamic between service users and service providers. It examines five major themes: making sense of the consultation; fear as a drive of the dynamic; invisible structures; fragmented conversations; and system dynamics.

New self-care library- The College of Medicine has launched its Self Care Library - an evidence-based resource for both healthcare professionals and the public. It currently looks at the self-care approaches to 12 chronic conditions that are common 'effectiveness gaps' – including for example irritable bowel syndrome, tension type headache and low back pain.  Each condition has a page organised into four sections – an introduction, simple changes that can be made, buying something to try (including OTC medicines, nutritional supplements and herbal medicines), and attending classes/visiting a practitioner (including complementary therapies, where appropriate).

Joining in the conversation - social media and mental health services - The NHS Confederationhas published ‘Joining in the conversation - social media and mental health services’. This briefing looks at social media innovations underway in healthcare as a whole and highlights case studies from Mental Health Network member organisations. Several health and mental health organisations are using social media to provide support on a range of issues such as depression, alcohol and drug dependency, and anxiety disorders.

Be Clear on Cancer -The Department of Health has this week launched a national campaign to promote earlier diagnosis of bowel cancer. The aim of this campaign, which will start on 30 January 2012 and run to the end March, is to get people with appropriate symptoms is to come forward earlier and, where appropriate, to be referred promptly for investigation. It will run on national television and radio and in the press and is designed to give simple information about bowel cancer symptoms and provide a clear call to action to see the doctor.

A social network for patients? -The company behind a new patient portal is in discussions with Microsoft about creating an extensive social network for patients in the UK. The Howareyou? site went live two months ago, and is being piloted by a number of NHS providers, including Addenbrooke’s Hospital, which is encouraging patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to sign up. The site enables patients to speak with other people in their network, share information, and receive information on their condition. Read more

RPS launches report on involving patients in decision-making about their medicines -The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has launched the report ‘Involvement, Shared Decision-Making and Medicines’ by Professor Alan Cribb, which focuses on joint decision-making between professionals and patients.  The report focuses on a long neglected but much discussed driver of quality in healthcare: joint decision-making between professionals and patients.

Children's Health Information Matters Project shows there is varying quality, unequal spread and significant gaps in health information for children -The Children's Health Information Matters Project report is an in depth look at the production and provision of information for children and young people. It provides a full picture of the information needs and preferences of children and young people with specific healthcare needs and conditions, and their families. Recommendations are made to improve children's access to health information in the NHS. Researchers conclude that there is a large and growing pool of available information with varying quality, unequal spread and significant gaps, and much does not match with children‘s preferences for 'realistic‘ information. The research was undertaken by the University of Wales Cardiff. Read more

National Children's Bureau report highlights importance of relevant and accessible health information for children and young people -The National Children's Bureau organised a consultation event for children and young people to formulate recommendations on key aspects of current health reforms including choice and improving access to health information and medical records. The results of this work have been published this week and among the recommendations is that the NHS should work with children and young people and organisations to ensure that development of health apps, online information and advice and other health resources as part of the information revolution is appropriate for and appealing to children and young people’s needs. Read more

Royal Society for Public Health report: Are Our Children Health Literate? -The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) with support from a broad range of experts from the health and education sectors, has published a report on health literacy in primary schools. Although children are often aware of specific health messages, these messages are not always promoted in a broader context. Consequently children are not equipped with the skills needed to evaluate health and lifestyle choices effectively, or to assess the risks associated with new experiences. The report concludes that the priority should be to develop a coherent methodology for teaching health literacy, and to provide training for teachers to enable them to implement that methodology. Read more

Research: How information about other people's personal experiences can help with healthcare decision-making -This research investigated people's views of using ‘general facts’ and information about other people's ‘personal experiences’ for health-related decision-making. Participants used personal experiences information to help them recognise decisions that needed consideration, support their coping strategies and identify their options. The researchers concluded that people can use ‘personal experiences’ information in various ways to support their decision-making, and exercise some discrimination as they do. However, ‘personal experiences’ information does not replace the need for ‘general facts’ and care should be taken when it is used in resources for patients.

BMA Patient Information Awards 2012 now open for entries -You can now submit entries for the BMA Patient Information Awards 2012. The Awards aim to encourage the production and dissemination of accessible, well-designed and clinically balanced patient information. The BMA accepts entries in the form of leaflets, websites and other digital and online resources. All entries will be considered for the overall BMA Patient Information Resource of the Year Award, regardless of their format but the BMA now have new special award categories - information that aids decision making, self care, long term condition management and an innovation award. The deadline for entries is the end of February 2012.


Telford and Wrekin Libraries host new ‘health zones’ in each library providing a range of health information including:

  • health zone - medical information, understanding your conditions such

as allergies and possible treatments.

  • healthy eating - healthy cooking, diet and dietary requirements with

nutritional information.

  • healthy body - fitness, massage, dance and sport.
  • healthy mind - self help including body, mind and spirit and ‘Books on


  • healthy children - including pregnancy, child development, parenting,

and sex education.

See attached leaflet for more information.

New Health Centre opening in Coventry City centre. Galliford Try Construction, through Coventry Care Partnerships has completed the construction work of the £22.5m five-storey building, making it one of the largest Primary Care centres in England. The deadline was agreed by partners back in Spring 2010 that completion of the building would be ready for Monday 14th November 2011 and this promise has been met, on time and on budget. The new facility, which becomes fully operational on 9th January 2012, is opening to the public on Saturday 10th December from 11am till 3pm, to give people an idea of what the new facility will provide. GPs, the Walk-in Centre and other services currently based at the current Coventry & Warwickshire hospital site, and services from other parts of the city, will be relocating through a phased transition of all services from the 16th December into the new building. For more information, contact Tara or Suman on:tara.ritchie@warwickshire.nhs.ukor

For more local health news stories visit NHS Local –


Would you like to improve your understanding of how the Internet might be used for healthcare? University of Plymouth and Devon Partnership NHS Trust are running a free online discussions programme where you can learn about various Internet resources for healthcare (such as forums, web-based interventions, videocalling…) and share your views with other health professionals and health service users.

  • All participation will be anonymous enabling informal, safe and open discussions
  • Step-by-step guidance given & online assistance available
  • £10 e-voucher for service users & Certificate of Programme Completion for health professionals (beneficial for CPD records) who complete the programme
  • No need for travel as programme is run online & accessible from your home computer

They are running online discussion programmes on e-health for:

  • Mental health - Tue 10th Jan - Tue 17th Jan
  • Allergy - Wed 25th Jan - Wed 1st Feb
  • Adult diabetes - Wed 8th Feb - Wed 15th Feb
  • Carers - Wed 22nd Feb - Wed 29th Feb

The programme only takes a few hours participation, beginning with a 1-hour live webcast (6-7pm) presented from Plymouth University (with up-to-date knowledge of the literature on the effectiveness of e-health for healthcare) and discussion forum access. The forum remains open for a week for new topic discussions and concludes with a final 1-hour live webcast (6-7pm). The aim is to raise awareness of various methods, facilitate communication and gather stakeholders' views. more info.

1stMay 2012 - PiF Annual Conference– 9.30am - 5.00pm
Thinktank Science Museum, Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham B4 7XG. “Choice- valueless without meaningful information”, is the seventh annual Patient Information Forum conference, looking at how consumer health information enables patients and the public to make choices, take part in shared decision making, change behaviour and manage long term conditions. The programme is a mix of plenary sessions, workshops and debate, which gives delegates the opportunity to learn about ongoing and new work in consumer health information, understand the impact that information can have and learn new practical skills to apply in their own place of work. The draft programme currently includes sessions on shared decision making, information that changes behaviour, evaluating the impact of information and assessing quality. Practical sessions include short show and tell sessions on using major social media, creating decision aids and using online communities and patient experience. The full programme and speakers are being confirmed and details will be available shortly. In the meantime to register your interest, contact Nicole Naylor at

Information Standard Workshops - a Department of Health initiative set out to improve the quality and standard of health and social care information produced for the public. So, for those who feel strong about giving the public clear, concise, trustworthy and reliable information on health and social care this will be of interest to you.  I like to make you aware of the free, that’s right FREE! workshops we are currently running. Even if your interest in the Information Standard is at an early stage we recommend attending one of these workshops so that you can learn more about The Standard and how to get certified under The Information Standard. These workshops are held in various location across England for individuals or organisations needs. If you wish to book yourself onto a workshop please click www.theinformationstandard/training.organd select which workshop and date you wish to attend on our drop down menu. If you have any problems or have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact The Information Standard. The Information Standard 01256 38 38 90 07585983482

EQUIP has a wider list of events that is regularly updated - can also add your own events to EQUIP using the online form -


Other online newsletters in the West Midlands:

Telford & Wrekin PCT Community Health & Enterprise Centre (CHEC) have a newsletter available at the docs folder.

Voluntary Action Coventry Newsletter -

Health Newscan found on the NHS Birmingham East and North website at

Change 4 Life West Midlands Newsletter -

Reading Agency (is National but interesting newsletter about public libraries etc) -

Other links to health-related news -