Published Mon, 2011-05-16 10:29; updated 4 years ago.

Health Information News May 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 - If you would like to submit a news item – email

Focus on… eHealth

Research: Are People Ready for eHealth? -Despite the amount of online health information, there are several barriers that limit the Internet’s adoption as a source of health information. One of these barriers is the digital divide which includes the possession of Internet skills, or “eHealth literacy.” This research looked at how ready a sample of the general population is for eHealth, testing four types of Internet skills - basic skills, navigation, finding information and using it. The authors concluded that although the amount of online health-related information and services is consistently growing, it appears that the general population lacks the skills to keep up. Most problematic appear to be the lack of information and strategic Internet skills, which, in the context of health, are very important. Read more

EU Task Force to promote eHealth -An European Union eHealth Task Force to assess the role of information and communications technologies (ICT) in health and social care and to suggest ways for ICT to speed up innovation in healthcare to the benefit of patients, carers and the healthcare sector has met for the first time this week. The high level advisory group will explore the potential to develop eHealth much further in the future: allowing healthcare workers to dedicate more time to be with patients and enhancing self-help and independence of patients and elderly.

Engaging patients using IT -The Institute for Health Technology Transformation is a US based organisation that brings together private and public sector leaders to foster the effective use of technology across the healthcare industry. Their report, "Top Ten Things You Need To Know About Engaging Patients’ is a compilation of what key health IT experts from across the U.S. think are the most important things to know about engaging patients in the digital age. Strategies include providing patients with online health tools that offer reminders and information about their diagnosis and treatments and reaching out to older adults through online channels.

Nurses left in the dark over eHealth despite growing interest- Less than half of nurses (49 percent) believe electronic patient records are more secure than paper based systems, according to a new survey published today by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The overall survey findings underline the need for greater emphasis on education and training for nurses in the benefits of using new IT systems. More than half (52 per cent) of the 1300 nurses surveyed received no IT training within working time in the last six months, while nearly three in five nurses (59 per cent) feel they need extra training. However, the survey of more than 1300 RCN members, sponsored by Intel, reveals that two thirds (66 per cent) of nurses believe electronic patient records will save them time, showing the potential of eHealth in creating a more efficient NHS at a time when health organisations across the UK are being asked to make efficiency savings across many areas. The survey also reveals nurses’ support for telehealth, which includes managing patients at a distance or in their own home, for example via videoconferencing or via remote consultation or monitoring. Nearly three quarters of nurses who have used telehealth rated the experience as ‘positive’, with half of nurses agreeing it will save time. The majority (71 per cent) of nurses also said they are interested in learning more about telehealth. Nurses cited sufferers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and people with diabetes as prime examples of patients who would benefit from remote patient monitoring.

epSOS – the European eHealth Project- Smart Open Services for European Patients. epSOS is an electronic Health (eHealth) interoperability project co-funded by the European Commission and the partners. It focuses on improving medical treatment of citizens while abroad by providing Health Professionals with the necessary patient data.

Computerised patients care records to begin again - A controversial computer-based medical records database that was suspended by the Government as part of a review has restarted. The Summary Care Record programme wasintroduced by the former Labour government as a way of enabling emergency medical staff to access information about patients’ medication and allergies wherever they are in England. But the Coalition Government halted the programme, following concerns from GPs about security and patient confidentiality. But it has now resumed the programme and tens of thousands of patients in England are to receive an information pack, containing an opt-out form with a pre-paid envelope if they wish not to have their records available. A total of 5.5 million SCRs have been created and 30.2 million patients written to. The review, which was commissioned by Health Minister Simon Burns, concluded in October 2011 that a Summary Care Record containing core patient information, such as medications, allergies and adverse reactions, would be valuable for patients needing emergency or urgent care.


A new specialist evidence service to replace the Specialist Collections of NHS Evidence - The National Library for Public Health provides access to specialised information on behalf of NICE (NHS Evidence).  From May 2011, NICE (NHS Evidence) will launch a new specialist evidence service to replace the existing Specialist Collections. The new service will be easy to search and provide access to a much wider choice of quality specialist evidence content. Users will be able to browse new clinical and public health topic pages – developed by experts - which will bring together the latest guidelines, high quality patient information, ongoing trials and other selected information including access to NICE pathways. NICE Pathways will allow users to easily visualise and browse associated NICE products online, guided through supporting documents making NICE guidance easier to navigate.

Self management works -The report 'Helping people help themselves', from the Health Foundation, reviews the evidence considering whether it is worthwhile to support self-management. It concludes that self management works. Supporting self-management means providing information and encouragement to help people maintain greater control by understanding their condition and being able to monitor and take appropriate action. The report states that a review of more than 550 pieces of high quality research suggests that it is worthwhile to support self-management, in particular through focusing on behaviour change and supporting self-efficacy. Read more

QOF: does it reduce health inequalities? - The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), Service Delivery and Organisation (SDO) programme has published ‘The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF): does it reduce health inequalities?’The NIHR commissioned the King’s Fund to explore the impact of the QOF on public health and health inequalities. The extensive research report of the QOF, the pay-for-performance incentive scheme for GPs introduced in April 2004, has not resulted in improved ill-health prevention or health promotion by general practitioners. Researchers looked at the impact of the QOF on public health and inequalities and revealed that where local practices were undertaking preventive activities, they usually pre-dated the QOF and were not a result of the additional incentives. The research, based on analysis of routine data and interviews with practice and primary care trust staff, assessed the extent to which QOF contributed to improving health in deprived areas of England. There is also a King’s Fundpress release, a 16-page summaryand a Slidecastof key points by Anna Dixon, Director of Policy at King’s Fund and one of the authors of the report.

Skin cancer - DH has issued a press release entitled ‘under 18s protected from sunbed dangers’. The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 came into force from Friday 8 April, and businesses will face fines of up to £20,000 if they allow under 18s to use sunbeds. The Act aims to protect under 18s in search of a year-round tan from putting their health at risk. The change in the law comes as Cancer Research UKlaunches the 2011 SunSmart campaign, which shows around two people under 35 are diagnosed with melanoma each day. On average, 6% of 11-17 year olds in England use sunbeds.

Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health National Support Team - the learning: ‘What good looks like’ - DH has published ‘Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health National Support Team - the learning: ‘What good looks like’. The Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health National Support Team helped Local Authorities, PCTs, health organisations, Children’s Trusts and other statutory and voluntary partners to:

  • identify opportunities in relation to improving their commissioning and delivery systems to achieve better outcomes for children and young people  with respect to emotional well-being and mental health; and

  • review the whole system from prevention through to specialist services. 

This short document is based on the learning from the Team’s visits as well as the evidence of what works. It outlines the key elements of ‘What good looks like’ in terms of improving outcomes locally for the emotional wellbeing of all children and young people and children and young people with a specific mental health need.

Co-creating health: supporting people with LTCs - The Health Foundation has published its latest snapshot entitled ‘Co-creating health: building new relationships between people with long-term conditions and a supportive health service’Co-Creating Healthis the Health Foundation’s improvement programme that helps people with long-term conditions to take control of their health and supports them to self-manage. This snapshot paper outlines the importance of supporting self-management for patients with long-term conditions.

Count me in census - The Care Quality Commission(CQC) has published the results of the final Count me in censusabout the ethnicity of mental health inpatients, and calls for organisations beyond the healthcare sector to help improve mental health and well-being among black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. The census indicates that greater understanding is needed about the factors that lead to the variations that exist between the proportions of some ethnic groups on mental health wards and early intervention is vital to reduce the need for admitting people to hospital. Mental health services have a key role, but collaborative working is needed between statutory agencies and other organisations in the healthcare sector and also outside the sector, such as education authorities, police authorities, the criminal justice system, primary care services, voluntary organisations and BME community groups.

Learning for Life - The Mental Health Foundationhas published ‘Learning for Life: Adult Learning. Mental health and wellbeing’. Learning and education can affect mental health and wellbeing. A partnership between Northamptonshire Teaching Primary Care Trust and Northamptonshire County Council Adult Learning Service resulted in the Learn 2b programme; a series of community-based adult learning courses for people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety. The courses were structured around the themes of wellbeing, creative expression and healthy living. The Mental Health Foundation independently evaluated this programme over a period of three years and this report describes the findings of the evaluation. The report shows that education programmes provide a simple, low cost way of helping people to reduce symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

Maternity and early years care - DH has published 'Parents’ views on the maternity journey and early parenthood: what expectant and new parents have told us about their experiences of maternity and early years care'. The Department commissioned three pieces of qualitative research which explored how parents feel about the pregnancy and parenthood journeys, their expectations of the health service and whether they feel those expectations are met. This interactive guide captures the main findings for healthcare professionals and commissioners of healthcare services. The key finding is that parents don’t perceive the health service as a service but as a set of prescribed interactions at key stages. They need to be encouraged to be more proactive in accessing the help available to them. A slide set is also availableas is a DH feature.

Brief interventions for weight management  - The National Obesity Observatoryhas published 'Brief interventions for weight management'. This briefing paper aims to provide a guide to current best available evidence around brief interventions for weight management with adults. 'Brief interventions' are interventions that are limited by time and focused on changing behaviour – often to a few minutes per session. The focus of this paper is on face-to-face consultations that are conducted in settings such as primary care.

Change4Life April 2011 Newsletter - DH has issued the ‘Change4Life, April Newsletter’. This issue focuses on activities for spring, the School games, recipes and a feature about Nottingham’s Healthy Lunch Club.

Hay Fever resource - The Wessex Drugs and Medicines Information Centre has produced 'Thinking Ahead - Hay Fever Season’. The 'Thinking Ahead' reference documents are resources designed for specific health events and seasonal conditions that may have a public health impact. The one page document provides links to relevant guidelines, patient information, general reviews, new treatments and other information relating to hay fever.

The public health national support teams 2006-11 - DH has published 'The Public Health National Support Teams 2006-11'. This workbook was developed by the Support Teams (NSTs) with 70 local authorities covering populations in England. Local areas could use this approach when analysing whether a population level improvement could be achieved from a set of best-practice and established interventions. This is offered as a useful resource for commissioners; use is NOT mandatory.

Reducing underage alcohol harm in A&E settings - Alcohol Concernhas published ‘Reducing under-age alcohol harm in A&E settings’. This briefing paper outlines simple steps that Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments can take to identify 'at risk' young drinkers and provide access to appropriate early interventions at times when they are more receptive to advice.

Strategic high impact changes: childhood obesity - DH has published 'Strategic high impact changes: childhood obesity'. This is a distillation of the learning from the work of the Childhood Obesity National Support Team over the past 3 years. The document aims to share intelligence, highlight good practice and support the future strategic direction of local areas in tackling childhood obesity. Local areas could use this approach when analysing whether population level improvements could be achieved from a set of best-practice and established interventions. This is offered as a useful resource for commissioners: use is NOT mandatory. See also a summary from the NHS Confederation.

General Practice profiles - The Association of Public Health Observatorieshas published an online resource showing general practice profiles. The profiles are designed to assist GPs, consortia and PCTs to ensure that they are providing and commissioning effective and appropriate healthcare services for their local population. Profiles are available at the level of individual practices, or practices can be grouped into clusters and the resulting profile can be viewed. Each constituent practice can be compared with the cluster and the England average. Alternatively, practices can be compared with their PCT and England. The indicators in the profiles include: local demographics; estimated prevalence rates; Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) indicators; admission rates; and patient satisfaction. The profiles are based on the latest data available at October 2010.

Care after death guidance - The National End of Life Care Programmein conjunction with the National Nurse Consultant Group (Palliative Care) have published ‘Guidance for staff responsible for care after death (last offices)’. This guidance is intended to aid training and development for organisational protocols for this area of care. It also aims to provide a consistent view that accommodates England’s diverse religious and multicultural beliefs.

Measuring wellbeing - The Mental Health Foundationhas published ‘Measuring Wellbeing: an introductory briefing’. This briefing provides a basic 'need to know' introduction to measuring wellbeing. It looks at various definitions of wellbeing, summarises previous work on measuring wellbeing across the UK, and sets out the potential benefits of creating authoritative wellbeing indicators.

Your Hormones website -You & Your Hormones is the public information website run by the Society for Endocrinology to provide the public with scientifically accurate and validated information on hormones and hormone-related conditions. The Society for Endocrinology is the major UK learned society representing doctors, scientists and nurses who study hormones and hormone-related conditions. The website features information on glands, hormones and related conditions.

New internet toolkit for smokers launched -Smokers trying to quit smoking will now have access to a unique interactive online resource to help them make informed decisions about the best way to give up smoking based on their individual circumstances. The online toolkit “Quitex” being launched by public health charity ASH Wales has been designed to offer a new approach to quitting smoking by providing personalised support for smokers based on user feedback.

Research: Perceived information needs and non-adherence - The role of information on patients’ decision to non-adhere is important, yet not well explored. The objective of this research is to identify differences between perceived information needs for hypertension and medication to treat it, to explore the information channels used by patients and to test what type of information is more important to adhere to medication. Patients reported feeling better informed about hypertension than medication to treat it. The doctor remains the dominant information source. Feeling well informed about medication for hypertension was a predictor of better adherence. Other determinants of adherence were the use of the Internet and the Media.Read more


North Staffordshire Information Technology Serviceis preparing to go live with an upgraded community of interest network (COIN). The service, which provides IT services to a combined trust, primary care trust and more than 100 GPs, selected Updata Infrastructure to upgrade its region-wide network last year. The contract was placed by North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, which hosts the shared service. The network will cover 112 NHS sites, 4,300 PCs, 3,000 telephones and 7,000 users within the next five months.

For more local health news stories visit NHS Local –


Friday 20thMay from 12-1pm(UK time) in the Stonehouse lecture theatre in Portland Square of the University of Plymouth, Bob Gann will give a seminar entitled "Implementing the health information revolution".  All are welcome. In addition we will be webcasting the session at instructions below) so that others can watch and interact with Bob via a chat room. Bob is Head of Strategy and Engagement for NHS Choices at the Department of Health. This seminar is open to all. (INSTRUCTIONS FOR THOSE NOT ABLE TO MAKE THE LECTURE THEATRE BUT WANTING TO FOLLOW ON THE INTERNET: To log into the webcast you will need an Internet connected computer that plays sound. You will find advice and a test from the above webpage. You do not need a password, use your name (eg rayjones) as the user name and click on the ‘guest’ box. If you have problems with The latter does not give you the opportunity to type questions but does give you the video stream. Please keep the chat room for questions or comments on Bob’s presentation.

24thMay 2011 - Youth Health Champions - Free Seminar- Adams Suite, 28 Portland Place, London, W1B 1LY Tuesday 24th May 2011 at 10am - 3:30pm. The Youth Health Champion initiative (NHS NE Essex) was developed 4 years ago to improve the awareness and understanding of health and well being of young people attending schools across the NE Essex region. From small beginnings it now includes 14 secondary schools in the region, has moved into further education colleges and universities and has involved over 400 young people. This free seminar shares the experiences of the NHS NE Essex team including the benefits and the ongoing assessment of the initiative. Participants will gain valuable insight into what's involved from both the PCT and Schools perspective and what engagement strategies work particularly well from some of the young people who are Youth Health Champions. You will have a valuable opportunity to also look at some of the distinct features of the initiative (including sexual health, healthy eating and emotional health and well being).The seminar is aimed at key individuals who work in health improvement related roles and who have an interest in young people's health and well being. Please complete the booking formand return to: Nicolette Smith, 3rd Floor Market Towers, 1 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW8 5NQ. You can return your form by fax to 020 3177 1601 or by email to

10th June 2011 - Conference: Health Literacy: A Public Health concern? -This one day conference, run by the Health Literacy Group, is their first national Health Literacy Research Conference. Health literacy is ‘the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand, and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health'. The conference organisers are looking for applications for oral presentations or posters on Health Literacy research and development.

12 June 2011 -Walk the Extra Mile for Diabetes- Diabetes UK is running a charity walk on Sunday 12 June in Walsall to raise funds for diabetes research.  The walk takes place around the Arboretum with 3 and 5 mile routes.  There is free entry and a medal on completion.  To get involved you can register online at:  For further details contact Diabetes UK on 01922 614500 or

 Carer's Week Events - 13 June to 19 June –

  • Carers already registered with the Wolverhampton Carer Support Team will be sent invitations detailing the events going on over Carers week shortly. The highlight of the week will be a celebratory event being held at the Lighthouse on 14 June. If you would like further information about this please call on 01902 553429 or 553409 oremail on

  • Have a break...have a picnic - help Dementia UK celebrate carers in the UK by having a picnic with your friends and family during carers week. register your picnic at www.carersweek.organd be part of thousands of other activities taking place across the UK. For more information and picnic ideas visit www.dementiauk.orgcontact fundraising@dementiauk.orgor call Faradine on 0207 874 7203

June 14, 2011 from 9:30 - 4:30 Supported Self Care- The Right Care Right Here Programme, in partnership with Pfizer is pleased to announce a major self-care event in Sandwell and Heart of Birmingham. The event will bring together a range of stakeholders to agree a local vision for supported self-care, and a strategic approach to delivering it. You will help to set priorities and next steps for supported self-care across the Right Care Right Here Programme. It is important to try to attend for the full day, which will include: interactive workshop sessions, inspiring speakers including, Director of Public Health: how self-care can help people to stay healthy. Please feel free to send a representative. Also please invite anyone else you feel would be interested in participating. PLACES ARE LIMITED SO PLEASE BOOK EARLY If you requireanyfurther informationabout this workshop,please contactus on 0121 612 3497

15th June, 14th September & 19th October  - Sexual Health Free One Day Training -The “Let’s Talk About Sexual Health” seminars from the Royal Society of Public Health have been designed to assist in building awareness and understanding about key aspects of Sexual Health, as well as helping practitioners encourage young people and adults to voice their concerns and overcome “embarrassing” issues. The training is free and takes place in London 28 Portland Place, London, W1B 1LYon the 15th June, 14th September & 19th October. Places are limited. Read more

4th-10thJuly Health Information Week (HIW)is an annual, region-wide, multi-sector campaign to promote the good quality health resources that are available to the public. This should encourage partnership working across sectors and benefit all staff and the public by raising awareness of the resources that are available to them. It is a great opportunity to focus your efforts on promoting your resources and healthy living to staff and public in your area. On NHS local - will find documentation about HIW including suggestions for holding events and the reports from previous years give feedback and lessons learned from other staff. There will be no funding available from NHS West Midlands for promotional materials (e-posters are available) this year but Sarah Greening is available to help you find relevant contacts in your area and will be compiling the diary of events for each area which will be posted on NHS local. Please contact sarah.greening@westmidlands.nhs.ukfor more information about HIW and ensure that she is informed about any events or displays you are holding however small so that she can help promote to a wider audience.

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 -