Online event: Caring for people with learning disabilities: the importance of support in the right place

The King’s Fund, in partnership with Home Group,  will run an online event on Monday 16 April 2018.  The event will explore various models of care to support people with learning disabilities in the right setting. The session will cover a service set up in Hull (commissioned by the local authority) to support people with learning disabilities to live independently and as part of mainstream society.


 Ray James, National Learning Disability Director from NHS England, and Gary Bourlet, Co-Founder of Learning Disability England, will  also discuss how to drive improvement across the country in services for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers (The King’s Fund).

Full details are available from The King’s Fund
You can register for the event here 

Health chiefs are failing to investigate a clear pattern of worsening health outcomes, according to BMJ editorial

BMJ| 2018 |  Rise in mortality in England and Wales in first seven weeks of 2018| 360 | doi:

The BMJ has published an editorial on the rise in mortality rates in England and Wales in the first seven weeks of 2018. It is in response to the the publication of statistics that show in the first seven weeks of 2018, some 93 990 people died in England and Wales. Over the same period during in the last five years, an average of 83 615 people died. This increase of 12.4%, or 10 375 additional deaths, was not due to the ageing of the population. These figures show that one more person died every seven minutes during the first 49 days of 2018 compared with what had been usual in the previous five years. The editorial questions why this was the case (BMJ).

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The full editorial can be read at Rise in mortality in England and Wales in first seven weeks of 2018 it is available from the BMJ here 

UK trails behind its peers, reveals International comparisons of health and wellbeing data in early childhood

Nuffield Trust | International comparisons of health and wellbeing in early childhood |

According to the first ever international analysis looking at UK child health measures over time and across 14 other comparable countries, published today by the Nuffield Trust and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH). The indicators examined included a range of child health outcomes – spanning life expectancy, nutrition, immunisations, and  early childhood mortality. 

The analysis looked at data from 14 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, it reveals that the UK is lagging behind Sweden, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands who all have much higher immunisation levels. It also trails behind its  peers on levels of infant mortality.

The UK also had one of the highest levels of overweight or obese children than the average amongst high-income countries  in 2013. It had the second highest incidence of overweight girls 2-19 (29%).

The president of the RCPCH Dr Russell Viner called on the government to create a focused, comprehensive cross-departmental child health strategy,

“Given that children and young people make up a quarter of the UK population, it’s a real failure of the system that child health gets so little political attention. Investing in child health makes both moral and economic sense – for every £1 you put in, you get an average of £10 back in terms of future productivity.”

The full press release is available from the Nuffield Trust

Related: Nuffield Trust blog Lagging behind: why we must do better on child health

The report can be downloaded here 

Dementia UK: ‘Together again’

Dementia UK have created a short animated film to show the differences Admiral nurses make in bringing families affected by dementia together again, even for the briefest of moments.

This animation explores those feelings of being lost in dementia – and how the support and guidance of an Admiral Nurse can help bring people back together again.


More about Dementia UK and the Admiral Nurse Service available here

New data shows NHS weight loss programme enables patients to lose half a stone

NHS England | Flagship NHS Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Programme exceeds expectations as patients shed the weight of 15 double cheese burgers |

A flagship diabetes prevention programme supporting overweight patients to lose weight has exceeded expectations with over half of the participants losing eight pounds. Results published from the first wave of the scheme show patients were half a stone lighter (3.17kg) if they completed the majority of sessions during the nine month programme. However, when those with a normal weight and BMI but on the programme due to other health and lifestyle risks associated with developing Type 2 diabetes, this increased to 3.7kg.

nhs england diabetes info
Image source: NHS England

Since the programme began  three years ago, over 154,000 people have been referred, with around 66,000 of these taking up places. The programme has attracted a higher proportion of male patients than typically attend such weight loss programmes.

In addition, a further 5,000 people are also expected to benefit from a recently launched digital support to patients.  The pilot project comprises five companies and eight areas of the country are test driving a range of apps, gadgets, wristbands and other innovative digital products.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity, at NHS England said: “While it is early days, this data from several thousand people is very promising. Not only is our prevention programme exceeding the initial targets set for referrals and equity of access, what we are now starting to see is the first set of encouraging weight loss results too. Type 2 diabetes is heavily linked to obesity and if those on our programme continue to lose weight, as this snapshot suggests, then it is a step in the right direction and this programme can be an effective part of the solution.”

The full news story is available from NHS England here 

More information on the Digital Prevention Programme can be found at NHS England 

Forward Thinking- NIHR research on support for people with severe mental illness (SMI)

NIHR | Forward Thinking- NIHR research on support for people with severe mental illness |

National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has provided an overview of NIHR- funded recent research into support for individuals with a diagnosis of SMI. It supports early detection and intervention, crisis care, supporting recovery and managing physical and mental health.

forward thinking
Image source:

The overview includes 30 published studies and 19 ongoing research projects to address particular uncertainties and evidence gaps identified by those working in and using these services. It also highlights research currently taking place to inform the support and care of people with SMI; and provides questions to ask about support for people living with SMI.

Full details are at the NIHR website 

The full overview can be accessed here 

The clinical and cost effectiveness of shorter duration prescriptions vs. longer term prescriptions

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has synthesised research from four recent papers looking at shorter duration prescriptions (28 days) and comparing these with three month prescriptions.

One of these papers, the Impact of issuing longer- versus shorter- duration prescriptions: a systematic review published today in the British Journal of General Practice, says 28-day prescriptions should be reconsidered in favour of longer- duration prescriptions.  The study examined the impact of longer-duration (2–4 months) versus shorter-duration (28-day) prescriptions. The systematic review found that UK recommendations to provide shorter prescriptions are not substantiated by the current evidence base. 

While other research  found that longer prescriptions were more cost-effective for the NHS, one of its authors, Dr Rupert Payne said that the evidence base for this was ‘poor’. Dr Payne also cautioned that “community pharmacies receive a fee for every prescription they dispense. So simply switching every repeat prescription item from, for example, one month to three months, could result in a large reduction in pharmacy income.” While this may reduce costs, a possible consequence could be loss of pharmacy services.  Therefore,  any “changes to policy around the length of repeat prescriptions should also consider how pharmacies are reimbursed.”


 King, S.,  et al | Impact of issuing longer- versus shorter- duration prescriptions: a systematic review |British Journal of General  Practice

The full article can be downloaded from British Journal of General Practice here

Doble, B. et al | 2018 |Retrospective, multicohort analysis of the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) to determine differences in the cost of medication wastage, dispensing fees and prescriber time of issuing either short (<60 days) or long (≥60 days)
prescription lengths in primary care for  common, chronic conditions in the UK |BMJ Open |Vol. 7| 12 |

This article can be downloaded from BMJ Open here 

Miani, al. Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of issuing longer versus shorter duration (3-month vs. 28-day) prescriptions in patients with chronic conditions: systematic review and economic modelling. Health Technology Assessment |2017 | Vol. 21 |78|

This can be accessed from NIHR 

Martin, A., Payne, R., & Wilson, E., C., F., | 2018 | Long-Term Costs and Health Consequences of Issuing Shorter Duration Prescriptions for Patients with Chronic Health Conditions in the English NHS | Applied Health Economics and Health Policy |

This article can be requested by Rotherham NHS staff here