Published Mon, 2012-01-16 14:00; updated 4 years ago.

Health Information News January 2012

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.


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 developed with PiF members - 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. Read more

Research: Health literacy and self-care of patients with heart failure- A patient's education level is not a fail-safe predictor of how well they will manage symptoms related to complicated chronic diseases, such as heart failure, according to a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. The purpose of the pilot was to examine the relationship between health literacy and self-care of patients with heart failure. The results showed that patients with higher health literacy trended toward having greater self-care confidence, which can increase the likelihood of performing self-care, but this finding was not statistically significant. It was unexpected to find that lower health-literate patients performed more self-care management.

Macmillan Cancer Support publishes 2012 directory of information materials for people affected by cancer - Macmillan Cancer Support's 'A directory of information materials for people affected by cancer' is a single source of reference to leaflets and booklets written for people affected by cancer. It covers cancer in general, specific cancers, cancer treatments, and living with cancer. It is arranged by cancer type and detailed indices allow users to identify resources by title, subject, language and format. This edition has details of 1165 booklets and leaflets published in the UK in the last five years by a wide range of organisations, such as national cancer charities and support groups and government departments.

Government accepts new recommendations on information for patients from NHS Future Forum–The Government has accepted the latest recommendations from the independent NHS Future Forum including the recommendations relating to information. These include that information is an integral part of the service to patients and service users and the Government’s information strategy must clearly set out the responsibilities of commissioners and providers in affirming this principle. There are further more detailed recommendations and findings contained in the Future Forum's Information report. The Patient Information Forum is mentioned in relation to a case study co-developed with Macmillan Cancer Support for a National Voices event last year. Information Prescriptions, the Information Standard, Care planning and care navigation also feature. A 'must read' for all information producers.

NHS Right Care announces the organisations contracted to drive forward shared decision making -The NHS Right Care shared decision making programme has announced the new contractors for the forthcoming Shared Decision Making Programme delivery. It is hoped that delivery of the elements required within these contracts should result in a step change in the delivery of shared decision making. The work includes the development of patient decision aids and embedding shared decision making in routine NHS systems.  Right Care have also published an Essential Reading series on shared decision making. Read more

Department of Health launches national TV and radio advertising campaign to encourage smokers to quit.- A national TV and radio advertising campaign has been launched to encourage smokers to quit. Smokers can pick up a new and improved NHS Quit Kit from thousands of pharmacies across England to help them stop smoking. The NHS Quit Kit has been developed by experts, smokers and ex-smokers, and contains practical tools and advice to help smokers quit smoking for good. The kit includes a health/wealth wheel, which helps quitters calculate how much they are saving and the improvements they will see to their health and a ‘tangle’ toy to help keep hands busy. Read more

Knowledge and information alone isn’t enough to change Scottish health trends -A new report from NHS Health Scotland shows that there continues to be a gap between people’s perceptions of their lifestyle and how healthy they report they are. The Knowledge, Attitudes and Motivations to Health report shows that many people know and understand the messages around good health but far fewer are changing their behaviour to lead a healthier lifestyle. Researchers found large differences between knowledge and behaviours. Read more

Directory of Health and Wellbeing Boards –The King's Fund are currently compiling an online directory of Health and Wellbeing Boards across the country. If your Health and Wellbeing Board would like to be included in this directory, please get in touch with us with the contact details of either the board itself or a named contact:

Joining up health and social care: improving value for money across the interface - This report says that integrated working across health and social care offers opportunities for efficiencies and improvements to services. However, it also finds that the NHS and councils have made patchy progress in improving this joint working across health and social care. It offers guidance to local partnerships, setting out a list of questions to consider, and suggestions for interventions that might help. Case studies show how some areas have embraced partnership working and used local data and benchmarking to establish how and where to make improvements.

The new Public Health system - DH has announced details of the design of the new public health system, specifically the role and responsibilities of local government in public health, the operating model for the new executive agency Public Health England and an overview of how the whole system will work. A range of factsheetscover specific public health system topics and aim to further inform stakeholders and staff involved in the new public health system so that the reforms can be implemented effectively. See also the combined documents ‘Public Health in Local Government’and ‘Public Health England’s Operating Model’. Further operational details, including a public health outcomes framework and details on public health funding and workforce issues, will follow in the New Year. In a related but separate development, DH has published ‘Public Health Human Resources (HR) Concordat: Frequently Asked Questions’.

Cholesterol and a healthier nation: shared responsibility for better public health - The cholesterol charity Heart UKhas published ‘Cholesterol and a healthier nation: shared responsibility for better public health’. The charity sent Freedom of Information requests to 152 PCTs across England in September 2011 to collect information about the local provision and implementation of NHS Health Checks. This report outlines eight key recommendations to ensure adequate funding for NHS Trusts to help prevent early death caused by high cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors.

Bowel Cancer Screening does cut deaths - A bowel cancer screening programme in England is on course to cut deaths by a sixth, say researchers studying results from the first million people tested. The study ‘Outcomes of the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP) in England after the first 1 million tests’has been published online first in the journal Gut, and has raised concerns that the screening programme, launched in 2006, misses tumours in certain parts of the colon. Testers checked a faeces sample for signs of abnormal bleeding. The researcher who analysed the results said money should be spent on bringing in more sensitive tests. Approximately 16,000 people a year die from bowel cancer, making it second only to lung cancer as a cause of death in the UK. There is also a BBC News reportand a press release from Bowel Cancer UK.

Lifestyle factors and cancer - Cancer Research UKhas published an extensive article in the British Journal of Cancerwhich shows that lifestyle factors - cigarettes, diet, alcohol and obesity - are behind more than 100,000 cancers. This figure further increases to around 134,000 when taking into account all 14 lifestyle and environmental risk factors analysed in this study. Smoking is the most important lifestyle factor causing 23% of cancers in men and 15.6% in women (nearly one in five cancers). Overall the review shows that 45% of all cancers in men could be prevented – compared with 40% of all cancers in women. There is also a BBC News report.

Super Deals for Healthier Meals - A nation-wide campaign to help us all plan affordable healthier meals was launched today by the Public Health Minister Anne Milton and TV chef Ainsley Harriott. Change4Life’s New Year’s new Supermeals campaign will offer money off healthy ingredients, such as fruit and veg and low fat yoghurts, across over a thousand supermarket stores up and down the country.

Whistleblowing helpline  – DH has announced that a free whistleblowing helpline was launched on 1st January. It will be available to NHS and social care staff who have concerns about patient care. The free helpline is funded by the Government and is part of the Government’s drive to tackle poor practice. This is in addition to the introduction of a contractual duty to raise concerns, which will be enshrined in the new NHS Constitution. A similar web-based whistleblowing service is also being developed, with further details to be announced in due course. There is also a BBC News report.

Central Office of Information (COI),  will close on 31stMarch 2012 and all of its current framework agreements are being moved to the Government Procurement Service.  The COI has been producing public information films and booklets for several decades, including such legends as “Charlie Says…”, “AIDS – Don’t die of ignorance”, and “Protect and Survive”, as well as many of the NHS publications produced in recent years, some of which have been used by our own Health Promotion / Public Health / Public Health Nursing staff.  Some of the public information films of the COI can be viewed here -

Winter surge for online health information - DH has announced that there has been a record surge in people going online for trusted health information and advice over the winter period, Daily visits to the NHS Choices website from October to the end of December were up 56% compared to the same time last year, despite lower levels of flu so far this year. This equates to 133,000 more visits a day this year (368,000), in contrast with the same period in 2010, in which there were 235,000 visits a day. Over the Christmas period, concerns about Norovirus drove up visits to pages on the winter vomiting bug by 162% compared to the same period last year. There was a 117% increase in traffic to these pages between 19 to 27 December 2011 compared to the previous week. Overall, between October to the end of December, there were 116,085 visits to the Norovirus pages this year compared to 70,347 visits over the same period in 2010. 


Public Health Practitioner Development Scheme opens up for more applicants- A further 85 people who promote health within local communities in the West Midlands have now joined this highly successful scheme to assess public health practitioners against national standards. Under the NHS West Midlands Public Health Practitioner Development Scheme, practitioners can be developed, assessed and accredited against the UKPHR practitioner standards for core public health practice. The pioneering scheme, which was launched in January 2011, already had 93 practitioners and 30 assessors in its first cohort. New applications for the second cohort were invited in November and December, with applications welcomed from NHS public health teams, local government, primary care or any of the health and social care organisations including voluntary and third sectors who promote, protect, advocate for, develop and improve health with local communities and groups in the West Midlands.

NHS local helps create new digital service for Birmingham Children's Hospital- NHS local has been working with Birmingham Children’s Hospital to create a new online experience for patients. The website, which has been designed for children and their parents, moves beyond simply providing information. It includes a section in which children and young people can upload their stories and share their experiences. In the longer term, the hospital aims to create a genuine interaction between patients and staff through its new site. It is working towards patients being able to talk to the medical staff and book appointments online.

For more local health news stories visit NHS Local –


West Midlands Learning Disability and Obesity Charter - Launch of the West Midlands Learning Disability and Obesity Charter and Associated Resources. The event takes place on: Date: Tuesday 31st January 2012; Time: 9.15 a.m. - 1.15 p.m. at 5 St Philips Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2PW. For further information, click hereor contact Suzanne Gardner at tobook your place at the event.

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:

  • 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.

28th February, 16th May and 27th June 2012Free Information Standard Workshops -The Information Standard is a scheme designed to improve health and social care information available to the patient & public.The Information Standard is a scheme supported by The Department of Health to help patient and public identify trustworthy and reliable sources of health and social care information through an easily recognisable quality mark. The scheme is designed for producers of health and social care information to improve their processes and provide a structure framework to produce health and social care information that will be clear, concise, accurate, up-to-date, impartial & trustworthy information. If you are interested in The Information Standard and would like to know more please sign up to attend one of our one-day training courses which is free of charge.  Even if your interest in The Information Standard is at an early stage attending one of these sessions will help learn more about the scheme and understand the steps to becoming certified. If you wish to book a place at one of these training days please click here. Places are limited so please book before you miss out. Can't make any of these dates? click here and let us know so that we can schedule more dates in your region.

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

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 -