Published Thu, 2012-03-22 10:58; updated 4 years ago.

Health Information News March 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 - If 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.


PiF receives DH grant to raise the quality and increase the impact of health information for patients and the public - We are delighted to announce that PiF has secured a grant from the Department of Health’s Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development (IESD) fund. The grant is for £175,000 over three years and will see the development of a range of new resources, services and tools for PiF members and the wider consumer health information sector, aimed at improving the standard and reach of information for patients and the public. The project builds and strengthens people’s choice and control over their own care, by helping information producers to improve the standard and the impact of the information they provide. It does that by bringing together the key tools that producers need, setting national quality standards and enabling producers to share knowledge, expertise and best practice with each other to improve quality, productivity and efficiency. It focuses on improving quality and access for groups that are traditionally poorly served.

Sanofi launches patient group bursaries for patient empowerment and information projects - Sanofi are supporting patient groups in the UK with the launch of their 2012 Patient Group Bursary. Patient groups entering the 2012 bursary scheme will need to demonstrate that their programmes can deliver empowerment and information, of which three successful applicants will receive a grant to the value of either £25,000, £15,000 or £10,000. Applications for the scheme are now open and will close on Friday 27th April.

Health apps - DH has issued the results of a call to find the best new ideas and existing smartphone apps that help people and doctors better manage care. Nearly 500 entries and over 12,600 votes and comments were received. The most popular app ideas were: to help manage long-term conditions; to help people deal with post-traumatic stress; to track and monitor things like blood pressure; to help people find NHS services on a map; and to get practical information about keeping fit and eating healthily. The most popular apps can be found on the DH Maps and apps website.

Changing NHS and Public Health Landscape - Pharmacy Voice has published ‘The changing NHS and Public Health Landscape’. The document maps the rapid evolution of health service structures in England. The purpose is to give pharmacy representative bodies at local, regional and national levels an increased understanding of current changes and also helps them make projections for the future. The document covers key architectural developments, progress of the Health and Social Care Bill, Local Professional Networks and public health. 

Healthcare Public Health Advice to CCGs - DH has published the following Dear Colleague letter 'Healthcare Public Health Advice to CCGs'. Subject to the Health and Social Care Bill, from 2013-14, clinical commissioning groups will have access to public health advice, information and expertise in relation to the healthcare services that they commission, provided by local public health teams based in local authorities. The intention is to make it a mandatory requirement for local authorities, from April 2013, to provide this service to clinical commissioning groups, but the detail of the arrangements will need to be planned locally. This 'core offer' follows on from the Healthy Lives, Healthy People White Paper consultation on the funding and commissioning routes for public health. There is also a guidance document related to the core offer and a DH press release. See also related short article from E-Health Insider.

Must-knows on health and wellbeing - The Local Government Improvement and Development Agency has published ‘Must-knows on health and wellbeing’. Councils can have a tremendous impact on health – through sports, open space, housing, planning, social care and a range of other services. However many members are largely unfamiliar with the territory of health services. They will increasingly be required to get involved, particularly through the new health and wellbeing boards. These 20 ‘must knows’ are designed to provide the key information members need, in bite size chunks. See left hand screen for the 20 must-knows.

Short guide to health and wellbeing boards - DH has published ‘A short guide to health and wellbeing boards’. This briefing provides an outline on what health and wellbeing boards are; what they will do; when they will be established; the make-up of the boards; and support which is available to the boards.

NSMC One Stop Shop - The National Social Marketing Centre has launched its One Stop Shop, an online resource that provides public sector staff free access to unpublished research and data on important public health issues. The site was developed to save public money and resources by reducing duplication and captures a wide range of consumer research that has recently been commissioned across the country on diverse topic areas such as mental health and childhood obesity.  The material within the One Stop Shop is provided for the benefit of NHS and government bodies to aid shared learning – it is not open to the general public. You must be a registered user of the site to search the archive and view the reports. Registered users must have a valid or .nhs email address.

Patient Opinion to be the official site for patient feedback on social care services - Patient Opinion is to receive government funding to become the official site for patient feedback on social care services. They will receive £160,000 over two years to become the first official site to accept patients’ and carers’ stories on social care services such as nursing homes, residential care homes for the mentally disabled and home care providers. It will base the new social care site – due to go live in the summer of 2013 - on its current model.

Social Care Institute for Excellence developing website to help people to make choices about care - The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) is developing a website that will help people to make choices about care. will cover all types of care and support for adults including regulated and unregulated services in England. It will provide links to specialist websites (including local services, specialist and independent financial advisers). The site will go live this summer and will provide information about services for all adults, not just older people. The site will guide people through comprehensive information about care options and choices such as the role of the local authority, paying for care and what constitutes good care.

Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet - The NHS Information Centre has published 'Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, 2012'. The topics covered in the report include, overweight and obesity prevalence among adults and children, physical activity levels among adults and children, trends in purchases and consumption of food and drink and energy intake and health outcomes of being overweight or obese. Additional information is also available.

Research: Identifying the barriers and facilitators to written medicine information provision and use - This study aimed to explore peoples’ needs and expectations of written medicines information (WMI), and to determine the barriers and facilitators experienced or perceived in the context of WMI provision and use.  The findings suggest less than half had previously received WMI, with many unaware of its availability. Many, but not all, wanted WMI to supplement the spoken information they received but not to replace it, and it was predominantly used to facilitate informed choice, ascertain medicine suitability and review instructions. The current leaflets were considered technical and long, and a summary leaflet in addition to comprehensive information was favoured. Accurate side-effect information was the most important element that participants desired. The most common barriers to effective WMI use were time constraints and patient confidence. Read more

NAVCA advice on Healthwatch - The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) has published their ‘six point test for HealthWatch’ to make sure they are genuine grassroots bodies. The tests include making sure local authorities take an intelligent, strategic approach to commissioning local Healthwatch, to give a strong voice to patients and local communities and to build on the current good work undertaken by Local Improvement Networks (LINks).

Food: Now and Then - Young People’s Food Choices - A report published by the Schools and Students Health Education Unit (SHEU) 'Food: Now and Then - Young People’s Food Choices'. The report looked at 750,000 young people, between the ages of 10 and 15 and their healthy eating and weight control. Topics cover breakfast, lunch, and attitudes to weight, food preferences, drinking water, snacking and considering healthy food options. The findings show a declining trend in crisp consumption and a rising trend in those who report eating vegetables. There is also a BBC News report. Please note the full report is not available online via the SHEU site.

Lost in translation: how much is translation costing the NHS, and how can we both cut costs and improve service provision? - The Think Tank 2020 Health has published ‘Lost in translation: how much is translation costing the NHS, and how can we both cut costs and improve service provision’? This report investigates NHS spend on translation services, the overall costs, as well as the individual areas of spend.

Act FAST Stroke campaign relaunched to save more lives - DH has announced the relaunch of a new burst of the award-winning Act FAST on Stroke campaign. Originally launched in February 2009 with hard-hitting imagery to highlight the visible signs of stroke, the Act FAST campaign is designed to inform the public about FAST – Face, Arm, Speech, Time to call 999. FAST is a simple test to help people to recognise the signs of stroke and understand the importance of emergency treatment. The faster a stroke patient receives treatment, the better their chances are of surviving and reducing long-term disability.  As with previous bursts, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke and encourage people to call 999 immediately if they suspect someone is having a stroke. Please note the Resource Centre has limited hard copies of some of the leaflets and posters which are available.

Research: Effects of a web-based intervention for adults with chronic conditions on patient activation - A vital role of the health care system is to develop informed, engaged individuals who are effective self-managers of their health.  This research explores the effect of a Web-based intervention on the patient activation levels of patients with chronic health conditions, measured as attitudes toward knowledge, skills, and confidence in self-managing health.  Results suggest that Web-based interventions increase patient activation and have the potential to enhance the self-management capabilities of the growing population of chronically ill people. Activated patients are more likely to adhere to recommended health care practices, which in turn leads to improved health outcomes. Designing Web-based interventions to target a specific stage of patient activation may optimize their effectiveness. Read more

Online Personal Education and Risk Assessment tool for breast and ovarian cancer from Macmillan  - Many people worry that they are at a greater than average risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer because of their family history. Macmillan Cancer Support offers an online personal education and risk assessment tool that can help - OPERA. The tool is based on the NICE guidelines for Familial Breast Cancer. It asks the user specific questions about their personal and family history of breast and ovarian cancer. It then summarises their answers, gives them a 'personal assessment', and suggests what they might want to do next.  The assessment includes personalised information and support about their inherited cancer risk.

Fiona Caldicott to lead review of protecting patient information and its sharing - Dame Fiona Caldicott has agreed to lead an independent from Government review of the balance between protecting patient information and its sharing, to improve patient care. Dame Fiona is known across the NHS as the originator of ‘Caldicott Guardians’, the individuals responsible in every NHS and local authority organisation for making decisions about sharing identifiable information. This requires balancing the public interest of protecting confidential information with the public interest for sharing the information.  She will be calling on an expert panel made up of clinical, social care, research and other professionals, as well as patients and service users. Read more

Health Foundation Report: Leading the way to shared decision making - The Health Foundation has this week published a report on the things the Commissioning Board should do to promote shared decision making with patients. The case for ‘no decision about me, without me’ is clear in ethics and in policy and is supported by a growing evidence base. However, to make it an everyday experience for patients requires a significant change in philosophy, in culture and in the roles of patients and professionals. This fundamental shift must be modelled and led by every part of the system to drive change in government and in the consulting room. In the report, the Health Foundation briefly introduce the concept of shared decision making and then look at each of four areas of action for the NHS Commissioning Board.

New two part guide to using social media for charities - Thousands of charities in the UK are aware of social media, but aren’t sure what it can do for them. Even more are engaging with their audiences on social networks, but want to know how to develop and optimise their activities. CharityComms has put together a two part Guide to Social Media for Charities. Part One is aimed at those just getting started, with Part Two written for charities who are actively using social media and want practical advice on taking their comms to the next level of success.  

Transforming Patient Experience: the essential guide launched by the Patient Experience Network - Transforming Patient Experience: the essential guide, a publication from the Patient Experience Network has been launched this week. It is suitable for anyone with designated responsibility for improving patient experience – either as a provider of services or as a commissioner. It contains practical guidance and covers the crucial aspects of making the case for a patient experience improvements, helping leaders and staff to improve patient experience and commissioning for a positive patient experience. Read more

2011 Patient Experience Outpatient Survey shows information still needs to improve - Patients continue to report improvements in aspects of care that matter most to them, and 84 per cent of patients rated their experience as excellent or very good, according to the results of the 2011 Patient Experience Outpatient Survey. The results published this week show that more patients are being treated with respect and dignity and felt they were involved in decisions about their care and treatment and in the amount of information given to them about their treatment. However, the results also show that staff need to improve the way they provide information to patients about areas such as the risks and benefits of treatment, why tests are needed and the purpose of medication and side effects.

Lost in Translation: Report shows the rising costs of translation services in the NHS - Research carried out by the think-tank, 2020Health, has revealed a dramatic increase in the amount spent by NHS Trusts on translation and interpretation services.  The report, Lost in Translation, investigates NHS spend on translation services, the overall costs as well as the individual areas of spend. Research was conducted by 2020health through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests sent to 247 NHS Trusts. The report recommendations include translating materials into easy read English rather than other languages, and make these materials available across all sites and creating a central repository of information that has already been translated into other languages so that it is readily available to all NHS sites.

Research: A systematic review of interventions to enhance shared decision making in routine clinical practice - This systematic review evaluates the effectiveness of interventions to improve health professionals' adoption of shared decision making in routine clinical practice, as seen by patients. The authors concluded that multifaceted interventions that include educating health professionals about sharing decisions with patients and patient-mediated interventions, such as patient decision aids, appear promising for improving health professionals' adoption of shared decision making in routine clinical practice as seen by patients.

Report explores issues surrounding shared decision making in clinical practice - In November 2011, the Royal College of Physicians hosted a workshop to explore issues surrounding shared decision making (SDM) in clinical practice. Their report, Shared decision making, captures some of the learning from the event and outlines key themes discussed and debated on the day.  The workshop was planned in partnership with the Health Foundation and The King’s Fund. The RCP invited  key theoreticians in the field of shared decision making, and leaders in national programmes delivering  partnership approaches to care, plus representatives from the medical royal colleges and specialist societies, to explore what this means both for patients, and for clinicians and their practice. Read more

New resources for patients and pharmacists on managing persistent pain - New resources to help pharmacists manage patients with persistent pain have been developed by UCL School of Pharmacy and the United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Association.  The resources include two “Talking about pain” guides — one for pharmacists and the other for patients. The document for patients is designed to help them think about their pain and how it impacts on their life, and the one for pharmacists focuses on how to interpret the information patients share about their pain. Read more

Campaign on alcohol units for consumers launches this week - As part of their commitment to the Department of Health’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, retailers have this week launched a national campaign to raise consumer understanding about the number of alcohol units in their drinks. The ‘How many units in your drink?’ messages are currently being rolled out in stores across the UK. The messages will be displayed on posters, shelf adverts and till-screen adverts in stores, to encourage consumers to understand how much alcohol is in their drinks. The launch coincides with the launch of a new Change4Life alcohol campaign.

Launch of the quality framework for e-learning  - The e-learning Leads for the Strategic Health Authorities in England and Skills for Health and have collaborated to develop a quality framework for e-learning. The framework sets out key quality principles which should be considered when developing an e-learning programme for use by the healthcare workforce. The framework, which includes a useful checklist, will be particularly helpful to:

  • commissioners of e-learning for use by the health workforce

  • education and e-learning specialists providing e-learning developments to the health sector

  • trainers and educators involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of e-learning.

The framework can be accessed here.


NHS local new service Performance & Opinion is now live - NHS local is working towards developing a service in which patients can say how they have found their healthcare – in real time. To kick off, we have now launched Performance & Opinion. This is an online service that allows you to compare the data on the performance of hospital trusts in the West Midlands. The data is from the most reliable of sources and has been presented in a way that makes it easy to understand. It gives the trusts star-ratings based on their performance according to both the official data and the satisfaction of the patients who have been treated there. The idea is that by combining the facts and figures with patients’ comments about their experiences, it should be possible for both patients and GPs to decide which hospital is the one they want to use. NHS local plans to expand the service by creating star-ratings on the performance of GPs.  We also intend to offer more detail about the hospital trusts, showing data and patient satisfaction about specific treatments, such as knee or hip operations. The feedback from patients is not yet being shown in real time, but we are working towards that. We are encouraging patients to leave comments and ratings straight away. Please take a look, let us know what you think and pass onto friends, relatives and colleagues who might find this service useful. For more local health news stories visit NHS Local –

Digital innovation in healthcare coupled with strong NHS partnerships has proven to be an award winning combination for NHS local who this week scooped the national Medilink UK Healthcare Business Awards 2012 award for “Partnership with the NHS”. NHS local, a range of digital health services, faced strong competition in their category, won due to their successful collaboration with the NHS. Through the use of e-learning for NHS staff and online tools to support people choosing health services and managing long conditions, NHS local aims to improve patient care and health outcomes. NHS local offers a range of digital health services which are dedicated to supporting people to improve their health related behaviours. These services are understandable and accessible by all sorts of people. This win is a clear demonstration of the commitment and relationships that NHS local has forged with the NHS since its launch which have proved essential in the delivery of an innovative and effective digital health service for staff and patients.  Interim Service Director and Head of Strategy, Robin Vickers said “ This is a fantastic achievement for the NHS local team, especially against such stiff competition. Having received this national recognition gives us the confidence in moving to the next stage of delivering NHS local beyond the West Midlands whilst continuing to move towards sustainable digital health services to benefit patients and staff alike. We are looking forward to a really exciting future”. NHS local is continuing to move to the next level of its development and its true goal of changing behaviour through on-line health services. It recently launched Performance & Opinion which combines simple statistics about a hospital’s performance with opinions and ratings from the people that use it and NHS local Learning an on-line learning environment for NHS staff.

Healthy Living Pharmacy - NHS Dudley has taken an innovative approach to the role of community pharmacies in the health and well being of their communities by implementing the Healthy Living Pharmacy Framework, which is ratified by the Public Health Leadership Forum. It aims to reduce health inequalities and prevent poor health by using community pharmacy staff to promote healthy living, provide well-being advice and services, and support people to self‐care and manage long‐term conditions. NHS Dudley was one of 20 areas across the country that was chosen to become a pathfinder site for this exciting initiative which was developed by NHS Portsmouth in 2009 and has since seen huge improvements in quality and productivity in community pharmacy services. Pharmacies awarded the Healthy Living Pharmacy quality mark are places where their local community’s health and well being is at the heart of everything the team does. They promote a healthy living ethos and deliver high quality public health services, including smoking cessation, weight loss, sexual health, and advice on alcohol.  The whole pharmacy team is involved: each pharmacy has a Healthy Living Champion (with a Royal Society of Public Health qualification), who keeps up to date with community health services and spreads this knowledge throughout the team.

NHS local on the Road - NHS local will be visiting NHS venues across the West Midlands showcasing the range of services on offer. The NHS local team will be on hand to show healthcare staff how to make the most out of our online training and career development support to help boost their personal goals. Sessions will allow staff to take a tour around the NHS local Learning site and find out just how easy it is to take an e-learning course at a time to suit their busy lives. The team will be showcasing the raft of supporting information and resources available. At NHS local we provide a range of digital services for staff, for patients and their carers. We want to reveal the benefits that our digital resources can bring during a number of health events right across the West Midlands. Come along and take a look at the online tools available to help manage your health. Please visit our blog for further details about when and where the roadshows will be visiting.

Personalised Care Planning - Exciting news! NHS local is developing an online tool to enable people living with long term conditions (LTCs) to understand them better, to reflect on their conditions, and create personal action plans to improve their health. In collaboration with NHS West Midlands we are developing a structured online personalised care planning (PCP) tool to support people with mild or moderate LTCs to understand and manage their condition better using self-care approaches. The tool will be available to anyone with an LTC regardless of what stage they're at, whether newly diagnosed or with longer term experience of their condition. It will allow them to record securely information about their health including personal treatment and care plans and health data. It will also help people with LTCs set goals and plan actions to help enable them to maintain as normal a lifestyle as possible.

Coventry – Spring Clean Yourself - A drop-in Health Event in Stoke Aldermoor at the Life Centre on 19th April 2012 between 10 am and 3pm which will be called ‘Spring Clean Yourself’. I’d like to have as many services as possible take part, everything from, well woman, well man, healthy eating, smoking cessation, drug/ alcohol awareness, mental health, sex education, fitness and food advice and even a thrift fashion show with make-up advice and more.  I’ve managed to get some interest from some organisers but wanted to ask for your help. Do any of you have contacts you believe would be interested in having a stand at the drop in? I’m happy to make contact with them and organise their attendance but need their details from you. Contact: Mandy on telephone 024 76785914, mobile 07967191693 or email her on




April In Dudley Libraries:

On Tuesday 10th April we have a Meerkat and friends visiting the following libraries:
Kingswinford Library 10am-11am; Brierley Hill Library 11.30 -12.30; Dudley Library 2pm-3pm

Blue Cross Animal Rescue Bromsgrove will be visiting:
Tuesday 10th April: Long Lane Library 11am-12; Lye Library 2.30-3.30pm

Wednesday 11th April: Coseley Library 11am-12; Sedgley Library 2.30-3.30pm

Dudley Zoo will be visiting on Friday 13th April Stourbridge Library 11am-12


1st May 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. Booking now available at discount rate, or contact Nicole Naylor at

15th May – Workshop for Health Librarians – Information for Patients – Dispel the Fears. At St. Chad’s Court, 213 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B16 9RG Booking opens soon. If interested, contact

16th May and 27th June 2012 Free 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

2nd-8th July – Health Information Week – a West Midlands campaign to raise awareness of good quality health information resources for the public. Contact for more information.


EQUIP has a wider list of events that is regularly updated - You 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 in the docs folder.

Voluntary Action Coventry Newsletter -

Health News can found on the NHS Birmingham East and North website at

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

Other links to health-related news -