25 million to be offered free NHS flu jab this winter

Record numbers of people in England will be offered a flu vaccine this winter. For the first time, all primary school children will be offered the nasal spray | via Public Health England

The health service in England has prepared for its largest ever flu protection drive to help keep people well and ease pressure on urgent care services over the colder months.

injection-1674900_1280The number of people eligible has topped 25 million this year as the offer of the vaccine is now extended to all primary school aged children – an extra 600,000 children. NHS commissioned school vaccination teams, maternity services, general practices and local pharmacies are all now preparing to provide vaccines to primary school aged children, 2 and 3 year olds, those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and older adults (aged 65 years and over).

Employers of frontline health and social care workers also have a responsibility to ensure their staff can get the free vaccine. A record number of NHS staff – almost 3 quarters of a million, or 70.3% of frontline workers – took up their workplace jab last year.

Full article at Public Health England

See also: Flu vaccination: The main things to know about the 2019 programme | Public Health England

Breast cancer: Call for genetic screening for all

Study, published in JAMA Oncology looked at data on 11,800 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK, US and Australia, with findings suggesting that breast cancer genetic screening would save hundreds of lives each year | story via BBC News


Offering every woman diagnosed with breast cancer genetic screening would save hundreds of lives each year, according to a new study published in JAMA Oncology.  Currently, only those with risk factors such as a close family history of breast cancer are offered the check. The analysis suggests one year’s testing could save 2,102 cases of breast and ovarian cancer and 633 lives in the UK.

The research says screening everyone would enable women to make informed treatment choices and allow family members to take preventative action. It would also be cost-effective for the NHS, they say.

Full story at BBC News

Full research paper: Sun L, Brentnall A, Patel S, et al. | A Cost-effectiveness Analysis of Multigene Testing for All Patients With Breast Cancer |  JAMA Oncology | Published online October 03, 2019

Travelling to and from NHS services

There and back – what people tell us about their experiences of travelling to and from NHS services | Healthwatch England

Healthwatch England has carried out a nationwide conversation on the NHS Long Term Plan, engaging with over 30,000 people across the country. They found that travel was a key issue, with nine out of 10 people saying that convenient ways of getting to and from health services is important to them. Indeed, people put transport above other things, such as choice over where to be treated and improving digital access to services.

Image source: http://www.healthwatch.co.uk

This briefing brings collates information about people’s experiences of getting to and from appointments at hospitals, GP surgeries and other NHS services. It looks at the different methods of transport, as well as sharing some examples of promising practice. It is intended to help leaders in the NHS understand the barriers people face and explore possible solutions.

Full document: There and back: what people tell us about their experiences of travelling to and from NHS services | Healthwatch

Digital inclusion

This report assesses the causes of digital exclusion and what can be done to make digital public services inclusive by default | Reform

Removing the barriers to digital inclusion and guaranteeing that digital public services work for those who are most dependent upon them is crucial to ensuring that the digitisation of public services does not exclude people.

The communities that could benefit most from digital public services, however, are more likely to be digitally excluded – meaning that they lack the ability to access or utilise digital technologies effectively. The digitally excluded are more likely to be older, less educated, unemployed, disabled and socially isolated.

As more public services are delivered digitally, there is an imperative to tackle the causes of digital exclusion. This report finds a lack of skills, motivation or the right infrastructure are some of the key factors that make digital exclusion more likely.

In addition to providing alternative routes for those unable to access digital public services, it is essential that these barriers are overcome. Designing accessible services, community support and partnerships across sectors are tools that can help to make digital public services inclusive by default.

Full report: Inclusive by default | Reform

Care home charter for medicines

Care home charter for medicines | The Patients Association

The Patients Association has launched it’s Care Home Charter which is intended to improve medication practices for people living in care homes across the UK.  It consists of a nine-point guideline for care home residents and their families, and is designed to promote and advance shared decision-making and improve patient safety.


It emphases the importance of residents being involved in regular monitoring and review of medications, and states that medicines should only be given with a resident’s consent, unless they lack the capacity to provide it.

In addition, the Charter also provides a nine-point guideline for care home staff to follow, stating that medicines should not be hidden by staff in food or drink, unless it is in a resident’s best interests and all legal requirements have been met. Other key points include that staff should ensure that an advance care home plan is in place for the resident, and that optimal oral and dental care is provided.

Download the Charter here.

Read more about the Care Home Charter here.

Community Mental Health Framework

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published The community mental health framework for adults and older adults. This framework describes how the Long Term Plan’s vision for a place-based community mental health model can be realised, and how community services should modernise to offer whole-person, whole-population health approaches, aligned with the new Primary Care Networks.

Full document: The Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults

See also: NHS Providers briefing

Wider Determinants of Health

Public Health England’s Wider Determinants of Health tool has been updated, providing the latest data for key indicators of the ‘root causes’ of ill health.

This tool brings together available indicators at England and local authority levels on the wider determinants of health with links to further resources.

The Wider Determinants of Health tool is designed to:

  • draw attention to the broad range of individual, social and environmental factors which influence our health
  • provide the public health system with intelligence on the wider determinants of health, to help improve population health and reduce health inequalities

This update contains:

  • new data for 5 indicators already released in other Fingertips profiles
  • an update of 14 existing indicators to add new data

See also: PHE news release | PHE Blog