Tackling loneliness

This guide outlines the current loneliness policy context, uses a range of case studies to demonstrate effective local delivery models working in practice, and provides useful check lists and top tips on how to measure and evaluate outputs | Local Government Association


Loneliness can often be associated with older people who live on their own, but it is not just about social isolation or older people; being lonely can have an impact irrespective of age and circumstance. Frequent loneliness can also ramp up pressure on public services, increase referrals to adult social care and trigger multiple attendances at GP surgeries – the significance of this being likened to issues such as obesity and smoking.

This ‘Reaching out’ guide is an important starting point and a practical resource in supporting principal and local councils to tackle loneliness. In preparing this guide, the authors have explored how best practice can be shared to support commissioners, service providers, councillors and leaders across the tiers, as well as those people affected by loneliness.

Full document: Reaching out. Guide to helping principal and local councils tackle loneliness | Local Government Association | National Association of Local Councillors

Artificial intelligence: how to get it right

Artificial intelligence: how to get it right | NHSX  

This report gives an overview of the current state of play of data-driven technologies within the health and care system.  It outlines where in the health and care system AI technologies can be utilised and the policy work that is, and will need to be done, to ensure this utilisation is done in a safe, effective and ethically acceptable manner.

The report covers research that has been conducted by NHSX and a great number of partners across digital health into:

Image source: https://www.nhsx.nhs.uk/
  • What AI is and where it’s being used
  • How to govern AI
  • How to protect patient safety
  • How to support the workforce
  • How to encourage adoption and spread

Full document: Artificial intelligence: how to get it right. Putting policy into practice for safe data-driven innovation in health and care| NHSX

See also: Technology in the NHS [blog]


78 NHS trusts to receive new cancer screening machines

78 trusts will receive funding for new machines that will improve patient experience and lead to earlier diagnosis | via Department of Health and Social Care

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust is one of 78 trusts that will benefit from funding for new cancer testing and detection technology.  The new machines will improve screening and early diagnosis of cancer, and are part of the government’s commitment to ensure 55,000 more people survive cancer each year.


Last month the Prime Minister announced the extra £200 million in funding for new cancer screening equipment. 78 trusts will receive funding over the next 2 years to replace, refurbish and upgrade:

  • CT and MRI scanners – bringing in alternatives with lower radiation levels
  • breast screening imaging and assessment equipment

Replacing and upgrading machines will improve efficiency by:

  • making them easier to use
  • being quicker to scan and construct images
  • reducing the need to re-scan

This new equipment also brings new capability, with many machines enabled for artificial intelligence (AI) so the NHS is ready for the challenges of the future.

Each trust has been allocated funding for new machines based on an assessment of local infrastructure and local population need. They will all contribute to the NHS Long Term Plan’s goal of catching three-quarters of all cancers earlier when they are easier to treat.

Full story at Department of Health and Social Care

See also: Full list of trusts that will receive funding.

Improving children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

This report, and associated documents, summarises the evidence for the effectiveness of universal approaches to improving children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing | Public Health England

The documents are intended for strategic and operational leads, working on children and young people’s mental health. This includes:

children wellbeing
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  • local commissioners
  • public health teams
  • child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) providers
  • clinicians
  • leads in educational settings
  • those leading children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing Local Transformation Plans (LTPs)
  • voluntary, community and social enterprise sector leads and researchers

The report of the findings of a Special Interest Group summarises the approach, findings and recommendations.

Full document: Universal Approaches To Improving Children And Young People’s Mental Health And Wellbeing: Short Descriptions Of Interventions Identified From The Synthesis Of Systematic Reviews

See also: Public Health England – publications

International comparisons of capital in health care

International comparisons of capital in health care: why is the UK falling behind? | The Health Foundation

This analysis explores why the UK is falling behind other countries when it comes to spending on capital (buildings, machinery, equipment and IT) as a share of Gross Domestic Product than most other comparable countries.

Key points

  • The UK spends significantly less on health care capital – which includes buildings, machinery, equipment and IT – as a share of GDP than most other comparable countries.
  • As a result of low capital spending, from 2000 to 2017 the total value of health care capital in the UK has fallen by 3% in real terms. Over this period, most other countries have seen significant increases in the value of their health care capital driven by higher spending.
  • In the UK, the value of capital per health worker – which provides an estimate of the resources available to staff to deliver care to patients – has fallen by 35% since 2000. Many other countries have seen significant and consistent rises in capital per worker over this period. Of the countries analysed, the UK has the second lowest value of health care capital per health care worker (at just over half the average).
  • The value of machinery and equipment per health care worker in the UK is the lowest of all countries analysed and continues to fall – countries such as Austria and Denmark have more than five times the value per worker.
  • The data raise questions about why the UK is lagging so far behind other countries and concerns about what the implications might be for staff and patients. This reinforces our view that there is a clear need for a long-term capital settlement for the NHS in England – including a substantial funding increase – to address problems such as ageing estates and infrastructure, and to invest in new medical technology in the future.
  • Despite government announcements of new funding, we estimate an extra £2.5bn would be required in 2019/20 to bring capital spending in England up to the average of comparable countries.

Full document: International comparisons of capital in health care: why is the UK falling behind?

See also: Health Foundation press release

Impact of the Community Network

Delivering for community services | NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation 

This report sets out the achievements of the Community Network since it launched in May 2018 and its plans for the future.  The network brings together and represents NHS and not-for-profit organisations providing NHS community health services.

Full document: Delivering for community services

See also: NHS Providers blog:  Delivering for community services | The community network story so far