Urban green space interventions and health

Urban green space interventions and health: a review of impacts and effectiveness | World Health Organisation


This report aims to fill the knowledge gap on the benefits of urban green spaces. It outlines the results of an evidence review and an assessment of local case studies on urban green space interventions and finds that increasing or improving urban green space can deliver positive health, social and environmental outcomes for all population groups, particularly among lower socioeconomic status groups. It highlights the need to more fully include health and equity outcomes in studies on green space interventions in future.

New publications from the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network

The NHS Confederation Mental Health Network has published two papers looking at the mental health workforce

The Future of the mental health workforce

The NHS Confederation Mental Health Network has published The future of the mental health workforce.  This discussion paper presents data on the current picture of the mental health workforce and looks at emerging findings from research to identify the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the mental health workforce. A final report will be published later in 2017.

Mental health and integrated care

Also published is Mental health and community providers: lessons for integrated care.  This briefing looks at how mental health and community provider organisations are exploring the multi-speciality provider model and how it can drive the delivery of integrated mental and physical healthcare.  The briefing presents key points and lessons learned.

Cutting smoking rates could save NHS £67m a year

Study highlights the burden that smoking places on UK society, particularly on the poorest and least advantaged groups | OnMedica | Tobacco control


If smoking rates dropped to 5% in the UK by 2035, the NHS could save £67 million in just one year. This is according to research published this week in Tobacco Control.

Researchers at the UK Health Forum, commissioned by Cancer Research UK, examined the health and economic impact of the UK becoming ‘tobacco-free’ – where less than 5% of the population smoke. The study predicts that achieving this target would avoid nearly 100,000 new cases of smoking-related disease, including 35,900 cancers over 20 years.

The impact of this health improvement amounts to a saving of £67 million in direct NHS and social care costs and an incredible £548 million in additional costs to the economy in 2035 alone.

If today’s trends continue, around 15% of people from the most deprived groups are predicted to smoke in 2035, compared to just 2.5% from the wealthiest.

Read more via OnMedica

Full reference: Hunt D, Knuchel-Takano A, Jaccard A, et al. Modelling the implications of reducing smoking prevalence: the public health and economic benefits of achieving a ‘tobacco-free’ UK

The Confusion Care Pathway

The Confusion Care Pathway has been developed by the dementia/delirium working group at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust as a guide to best practice in supporting people with dementia, delirium and/or cognitive impairment and their carers.


The Confusion Care Pathway (CCP) starts with the need to recognise confusion. A confusion identifier (the symbol on the CCP) is applied to the medical notes and a magnetic identifier is applied above the bed. The CCP subsequently guides healthcare staff to assess the cause of the confusion in order to reach a cognitive diagnosis, to avoid moves unless in the patient’s interest and to focus on assessing the patient’s needs for care planning and discharge planning throughout the inpatient stay.

The CCP prompts healthcare staff to work in partnership with the patient and their carer from the outset of their admission by: exploring the patient’s needs and preferences via a document called ‘Important Things About Me’, as well as using the Carer’s Agreement and Carer’s Passport.

The burden of Stroke

New report predicts the number of strokes across the UK is likely to rise by almost half (44%) in the next 20 years| Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) | The Stroke Association.

Carried out by King’s College London, ‘The Burden of Stroke in Europe’ is a comprehensive analysis of 35 European countries. Researchers are warning that throughout Europe, the number of strokes could rise dramatically by the year 2035 due to our ageing population.

Image source: http://www.stroke.org.uk

In the UK, there are currently 1.2 million people living with the effects of stroke, and there are over 100,000 strokes every year.

The report also reveals that by 2035:

  • the number of new strokes across Europe is likely to increase by a third (34%)
  • the number of stroke survivors living in the UK is expected to rise by a third (32%).

As part of its recommendations, SAFE is calling for each EU member state to have a national stroke strategy, actively supported and sponsored by Government that covers the whole stroke pathway. This should include awareness, prevention, treatment and long-term support.

Download the reports:

Poverty and child health: Views from the frontline

Poverty is ‘making children sick’, say children’s doctors | 

A new report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) claims that poverty and low income is seriously affecting the health of UK children.

Image source: http://www.rcpch.ac.uk

This report is based on a survey of more than 250 paediatricians and provides an insight into the reality of life for UK children living in poverty. The report looks at a number of areas including food insecurity; poor housing; and worry, stress and stigma and their effect on the health of children.

It reveals that:

  • more than two-thirds of paediatricians surveyed said poverty and low income contribute ‘very much’ to the ill health of children they work with
  • housing problems or homelessness were a concern for two thirds of respondents.
  • more than 60% said food insecurity contributed to the ill health amongst children they treat 3
  • 40% had difficulty discharging a child in the last 6 months because of concerns about housing or food insecurity
  • more than 50% of respondents said that financial stress and worry contribute ‘very much’ to the ill health of children they work with

The full report can be downloaded here

Unheard Voices Of People With Dementia

Alzheimer’s Society warns of generations unprepared for astronomical dementia costs

This report contains the findings of a consultation with people affected by dementia. It reveals that nearly half of the UK adults questioned had not started saving for the care and support they might need in the future, and a third agreed that before being asked, they had not considered the cost of dementia care and support. It brings together the views of more than 3,850 people with dementia, carers and the public, in a series of in-depth interviews and face-to-face and online surveys.

Full report: Turning Up The Volume: Unheard Voices Of People With Dementia

Prescription history could help GPs diagnose cancer earlier

“We want to develop a tool that helps GPs diagnose cancer earlier in the hope of saving more lives.”– Dr Jem Rashbass 


Cancer Research UK-funded scientists are to examine whether identifying patterns in medication given to patients before they develop cancer could improve early diagnosis.

Looking for patterns in prescriptions and other data could help guide GP referrals, especially in patients with non-specific symptoms that don’t obviously indicate cancer.

Only about half of those with the most common cancers have “red-flag” symptoms. And this is even lower in cancers with poor survival rates such as pancreatic, stomach, ovarian and brain cancer.

This research is being led by Health Data Insight which has received funding through Cancer Research UK’s Pioneer Awards scheme. Together with Public Health England and the NHS Business Services Authority they have created an anonymous dataset of nearly all the primary care prescription data – approximately 80 million medications being prescribed each month.

The researchers will then link this information to data in the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service to look for trends in medications given to patients before they were diagnosed with cancer.

Read more at Cancer Research UK

Blood pressure self-screening facilities in general practice waiting rooms

Making more blood pressure monitors available and accessible for patients in GP waiting rooms could increase the detection of high blood pressure and better enable patients being treated for high blood pressure to monitor and control their condition.

Researchers from the University of Oxford found that patients without a history of high blood pressure often checked their blood pressure while waiting for a GP appointment.

The study found that patients often don’t know about the availability of self-measurement and may need help with the technique. Some patients were concerned about measuring blood pressure in a public place. Several preferred monitoring their blood pressure in the waiting room, than doing it at home.

Full reference: Alice C Tompson et. al. Patient use of blood pressure self-screening facilities in general practice waiting rooms: a qualitative study in the UK