The healthmatters blog; commentary, observation and review
As the NHS battles to cope with a target to switch to electronic patient records by 2020 it may be time to ask whether the deadline itself is unhealthy. In a world where the amount of data is exploding and demand for the health service is soaring it’s easy to see why the government has been so anxious to modernise the way we keep records. After all, few people – whether patients or clinicians – truly believe paper-based systems are the best choice to survive and flourish in a digital age.
In reality, however, hospitals continue to rely on the old ways despite successive government campaigns to modernise their systems. Large technology programmes such as the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) and “Care.data” have certainly not inspired confidence, with both being cancelled despite a lot of effort and money spent on them.
Now the government wants the electronic patient records that once targeted for 2007 in place within four years. Can it happen? Well, anecdotal evidence suggests a lot people in the NHS take the attitude ‘we’ll believe it when we see it’.
The first hurdle is simply getting the buy-in of key users. Many consultants and GPs remain unconvinced – patient records may be two inches thick but it is still possible to thumb through them and find what you want. An electronic record, with 200 images, is a bigger challenge.
In an ideal world, people would instantly choose the more modern and efficient electronic patient record option. In the real world of resource limitations and legacy patient records – not to mention ingrained working practices – a simple switch over is not going to happen.
So, the diagnosis is clear, the symptoms are obvious – but we really need a different course of treatment. A sensible diet of good habits and localised but coordinated change including local stakeholders is more likely to succeed than major surgery. There is no single big bang technology fix available – certainly not one that is affordable – and back-file scanning of old paperwork is unlikely to be cost effective. In that light, recognising that legacy systems and processes will be around for longer than most people would like is the key.
Joining the paper and digital worlds together is not impossible – in fact it is absolutely essential to ease the transition to fully digital patient care. Eventually doctors can be augmented by intelligent systems which will bring a whole new set of processes and cultural challenges to healthcare worldwide – not just in the NHS. But before we get there we need to rework the NHS and all the types of information it currently uses.
Will we be paperless by 2020? It’s highly unlikely. So it’s time to live in the real world and make paper and digital work seamlessly together. Here are ten top tips on the long road to a paperless NHS:
- The first priority should be to examine the options of “digital first”. Is it possible to combine paper and digital in the short term to future-proof data in healthcare but without making a painful impact on service?
- Consider implications of the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation. This regulation provides extra rights for European citizens to ask to see their data and to ask for it to be edited. So one of the biggest hurdles we face is how to make data shareable and searchable.
- Utilise new systems to link consultants’ diaries to accessible patient records.
- Convert as many physical records into digital records as possible but beware of assuming that scanning all records is the answer. This is an expensive option and, as it does not often undergo OCR/ICR (text recognition), a scan is not always searchable. Without careful indexing and metadata being added (often a costly exercise) this provides significant problems.
- Consider storing records offsite, releasing space back for core activity. Outsource the management of onsite records to an expert.
- Analyse where digital can be most easily and effectively utilised to cope with modern demands and improve the standard of healthcare.
- When a patient appointment is made it can kick off a process to recall the necessary paperwork. Rather than being delivered on paper this could be scanned and made available at the necessary time. Over time only the most recent electronic records would be needed but for now a hybrid approach in some areas should not be discounted.
- Utilise systems to link physical and digital records.
- Think about future technology and how it might affect record keeping in years to come. Health-tracking apps and web resources offer huge potential to the health of the population. As do smart buildings and wearables with sensors built into our living environment. New systems need to be able to cope with these innovations.
- Put systems in place to prevent data breaches.
Trusts probably won’t admit they lose records, but they do. Not in the sense that they are left on the streets or on the Tube – most are lost somewhere inside a hospital. Many NHS employees don’t see this as ‘lost’ or a as a data breach – but patients and the regulators may think differently.
John Culkin, Director of Information Management, Crown Records Management
Breast cancer patients and prostate cancer patients talk very differently about their cancer online and receive significantly different levels of online support, according to social listening research* commissioned by Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe and published ahead of World Cancer Day on Saturday, 4th February. Based on this research, Teva has launched an online cancer portal called My Day (MyDay.eu.com) that aims to help cancer patients and their caregivers learn about their condition, connect with their online support community, and have productive discussions with their physicians. The website, named ‘My Day’ to reflect the unique journey each cancer patient experiences, is guided by an independent, medical advisory board to ensure the portal provides content of value to cancer patients and their physicians.
- Research identified over 20,000 online cancer conversations over the past 3 years
- Analysis shows prostate cancer patients focus on ‘technical details’ while breast cancer patients make greater use of ‘emotional’ language – pointing to differences in progression, diagnosis and treatment of these two cancers
- Research also reveals women with breast cancer receive significantly less online support than men with prostate cancer
- Teva launches ‘My Day’ online cancer portal to support patients in their online cancer conversations
These differences between breast and prostate cancer conversations may partly be attributed to differences in the progression, diagnosis and treatments of these two types of cancer. Prostate cancer is typically treated with a watch-and-wait approach, delaying time to prostatectomy to preserve quality of life for as long as possible without risking the cancer metastasizing to other parts of the body.
Furthermore, prostate cancer patients often have access to a urologist as well as an oncologist to further ‘crowd-source’ their knowledge and ideas about the best treatment path forward. Based on the social listening research, prostate cancer patients appeared to trust themselves to collate this ‘crowd-sourced’ information from their peers and medical specialists and to partner with their physician to make the right treatment decision. Also, unlike with other types of cancer, prostate cancer patients have relatively concrete assessment tools – such as Gleason scores and the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test – that help men recognise the points at which it’s time to make a treatment decision. These concrete tools also provide prostate cancer patients with common ‘data points’ they can refer to in sharing their stories online with fellow patients.
However, for breast cancer patients, the complexity of tumour types and the lack of relatively simple assessment tools may make it more difficult for women to share ‘technical details’ of their cancer online. Women with breast cancer often reported they were not told by their healthcare professionals the path forward and that they were surprised by secondary treatments prescribed without forewarning. The breast cancer discussions indicated physicians frequently recommended unilateral mastectomies followed by hormone treatment or chemotherapy. Breast cancer patients did also go online to crowd-source potential treatment decisions when a physician did not seem clear enough or said something that sounded ‘off’, and expressed a desire to use that information to partner with their physicians. If breast cancer patients gave voice to fears or anger within their online community, they warned peers that they’re going to speak in negative terms. By contrast, they frequently reminded peers to ‘stay positive’.
Patients and their caregivers are playing a more direct role in managing their health, with social listening conversations and discussions happening more and more online. Connecting with fellow patients and caregivers in virtual online communities can be a source of comfort – but it can also impact discussions with physicians, when online peers advocate unfounded treatments. Understanding the types of cancer conversations happening online is key to helping healthcare professionals have productive, face-to-face conversations with their patients.”
The European cancer portal MyDay was launched in late 2016 with local language versions of the portal being launched in individual European countries during the course of 2017.
A positive and established practice used to treat those with mild to moderate dementia called Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is being spearheaded by Dr Aimee Spector, a Clinical Psychologist and senior academic at University College London, who joins SweetTree Home Care Services as a senior consultant from April.
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy has so far achieved positive outcomes for those with mild to moderate dementia. The results of Dr Spector’s findings were presented at a prestigious meeting of general practitioners in London on 17th January 2017. The event, sponsored by SweetTree and The Priory Group, took place at the Royal College of General Practitioners and was organised by The Independent Doctors Federation. Those who attended heard Dr Aimee Spector, founder of CST who is based at University College London, explain the practice surrounding the therapy. Dr Spector also spoke about the recent evidence and research surrounding the therapy and how to access this service.
The therapy has already been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as the only effective non-drug treatment for cognition in dementia. CST provides mental stimulation to enhance cognitive skills within a seven-week group programme. Tasks include categorisation, word tasks, discussion of current affairs and multi-sensory stimulation. The therapy is flexible enough to suit a variety of capabilities and interests. Participants are encouraged to speak and open questions are asked so that conversations are based on opinions, rather than on factual information they may be unable to retain.
Following clinical trials, objective tests have shown significant improvements in cognitive functioning and self-reported quality of life following CST. SweetTree has already piloted a seven-week programme to existing clients living with dementia with very positive results and is launching the CST service in full in summer 2017. CST is normally conducted in a group setting, but SweetTree will also be offering ICST to its clients – Individual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy – a one-to-one individual service.
‘We’ve spent a great deal of time and effort testing the principles and methods of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy and I’m delighted to be working with SweetTree to offer the service to those with mild to moderate dementia. We are confident that this positive and established therapy will prove beneficial, helping people engage, making them feel valued and improving their confidence and self-esteem, all of which will help them maintain a better quality of life,’ says Dr Aimee Spector.
“The social care shortfall is edging ever closer to a full blown crisis” – commentary from Nick Sanderson, CEO, Audley Retirement Villages
Nick Sanderson, CEO, Audley Retirement Villages said:
“The social care shortfall is edging ever closer to a full blown crisis and we now find ourselves in a situation where underfunding is at such a critical point, the quality of care itself is falling. It is right that we discuss the issues and focus on solutions that look at prevention as well as cure. Clearly people prefer to be at home as they age, rather than in a nursing or care home, no matter what their age or care needs. But despite David Mowat MP’s laudable aims, it is unrealistic to expect families, many of whom live far from their parents, to take on full support for aging relatives.
“There may be no ‘final answer’ on how we deal with the rising costs, but we do know that high quality housing options with flexible care available is a model that works. If there were more options which allowed older people to continue to live in their own homes, but bring in support where needed, it would go a long way to improving quality of life and delaying hospital visits in the first place.Making those decisions and moving early enough has the dual purpose of reassuring families, and taking pressure off the state system. In the long-run, meeting the increasing demand for this kind of housing this will undoubtedly reduce costly intervention.”
Nearly half of UK workers “are too busy to exercise” – It’s time for employers to step in and make a difference
Survey reveals that 46% of UK workers can’t fit exercise into their daily schedules.
This is a particularly big problem for those aged between 25 and 34, with 52% claiming they do not have the time.
The results are reflective of a wider problem of inactivity and sedentary living in the UK.
Only 5% of Britons said their employer organises physical activity during working hours.
Businesses can be doing more to encourage employees to get active – new guide explains how.
A new survey from office furniture providers DBI Furniture Solutions has revealed that 46% of the working UK public say they do not have enough time for daily exercise.
The survey aimed to find out when and how people are scheduling in their quota of exercise each day, and the results showed that almost half of us are too busy to workout.
It’s a particularly big issue for women, with 48% claiming that they struggle to fit exercise into their busy schedules, compared with 43% of men.
Also, it appears that young professionals are the least likely to factor exercise into their routines, with 52% stating that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
Those who do workout are most likely to hit the gym, participate in a sport or go for a run after work (26%), whereas 17% get their quota of exercise in at the very start of the day.
Interestingly, a mere 6% said they use their lunch break in order to get active, while 5% told us that their employer regularly organises “team energisers” during the working day so that everybody has an opportunity to squeeze in a workout.
The Department of Health recommends that adults partake in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, but many of us are falling woefully short of this.
The total cost of inactivity in England amounts to £8.2 billion a year, so it’s vital that changes are made.
Latest statistics published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) showed that the average level of worker absence stands at 6.3 days a year per employee in the UK – costing companies a median £522 for each member of staff on an annual basis.
It’s imperative that more businesses take a proactive approach to ensuring their staff stay active. It’s worth their while in the long run, as fit, healthy staff are far less likely to take time off sick.
Nick Pollitt, Managing Director, at the company commented on the results of the survey:
“It’s worrying, but perhaps unsurprising, that such a high percentage of the British working public struggle to fit exercise into their day. Maintaining a healthy social life alongside work commitments is difficult enough, and by the end of the day rigorous exercise is the last thing on our minds.
“On the other hand, it’s clear that businesses could be doing more to promote exercise in the workplace. When it comes to encouraging exercise, it’s the little changes that make a difference. From bringing fitness experts into the office for quick sessions, to installing a fresh water cooler, you can easily encourage healthier life choices for your team.
“It will ultimately save businesses money in the long term.”
Charity Welcomes National Study that Could Show How to Protect Everyone from MenB Meningitis and Septicaemia
- Meningococcal B infection has for decades been the largest cause of life-threatening meningitisin the UK
- Teenagers carry the infection more than any other age group
- Introducing the MenB vaccine for babies was a major step forward, but only about one quarter of all cases occur in the under ones
- Government has now called for researchers to carry out a new study it is funding to find out whether vaccinating teenagers against MenB could prevent spread of the infection to others, thus potentially protecting the whole population
The Department of Health (DH) has announced a call for researchers to conduct a national study to evaluate the effect of the MenB vaccine in preventing adolescents from carrying the meningococcal B bacteria.
The public health minister committed to funding this study in April 2016 following a major public petition and campaign. Although the commitment was made, the £1.3 million fund for the teenage evaluation has only now been announced and a confirmed mechanism set out so that the study can take place.
In the UK, teenagers are more likely to carry the meningococcal bacteria in the back of their nose and throat than any other age group and they can spread it to others.
Meningococcal B infection has for decades been the single largest cause of life-threatening meningitis in the UK.
Introducing the MenB vaccine for babies in 2015 was a major step forward and evidence shows that it is doing an excellent job of reducing MenB cases in the under-ones. However, only about one quarter of all cases occur in the under ones, leaving older age groups unprotected from this deadly disease. Vaccinating babies will have no impact on MenB infection in older age groups because babies do not carry the bacteria.
The new government funded national study will evaluate whether vaccinating teenagers against MenB could prevent them carrying and spreading the infection to others, thus potentially protecting the whole population.
The lessons learned from this research will show whether an adolescent MenB vaccination should be introduced into the national immunisation programme.
A study at the University of Bristol, funded by MRF, is almost completed, investigating new sampling techniques and providing key evidence to enable effective design of the government’s large-scale study.
Vinny Smith, Chief Executive of MRF said, “Meningitis and septicaemia are deadly diseases that can kill or disable people in just a few hours. We’re delighted that this study has been given the go ahead. Our research and campaigning contributed to the adoption of the MenB vaccine in the UK for babies and the government commitment to backing this study. We hope that the findings from this study will mean that the wider population can also finally be protected from MenB.
“Another commitment made by ministers in April 2016 was to publish a report on the methodology for assessing vaccine cost-effectiveness. At the moment, vaccines that prevent rare but severe illness in children are at a disadvantage. A draft report was produced in May, but MRF is still waiting for the public consultation on the findings from this report to help create fair rules.”
New partnership helps fulfill goal of a cooperative approach to cancer advocacy and prevention
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) today welcomed the Movember Foundation as a Visionary Partner of World Cancer Day, a global movement that unites the world to reduce the global cancer burden under the one banner.
This partnership displays a working example of fulfilling the goals set out by World Cancer Day to ‘develop unprecedented global networks and alliances’ and a new cooperative approach to cancer advocacy and prevention. It also further demonstrates the Movember Foundation’s commitment to supporting the fight against cancer.
“We are very proud to announce the Movember Foundation as a Visionary Partner of World Cancer Day,” said Cary Adams, UICC’s Chief Executive Officer. “This new partnership represents an exciting opportunity to bring World Cancer Day to an even wider audience, to ensure the Day achieves maximum impact in the fight against cancer. With our core objective of getting as many people as possible to see, read and hear about World Cancer Day, we recognise the power of the Mo community to amplify the Day’s theme of ‘We can. I can.’
This new alliance recognises the potential to use the collective power of UICC and Movember’s global communities to bring the world’s focus to the Day. Concretely, with World Cancer Day, on 4 February, falling on a weekend in 2017 and 2018, the partnership aims to harness the power of sport, with the support of Movember’s deeply embedded alignment with sport across the world.
“World Cancer Day and the Movember Foundation are both truly global movements, and it makes perfect sense for us to extend our fight against cancer to include this brilliant campaign,” said Owen Sharp, Movember’s Chief Executive Officer. “Movember is excited and honoured to be named a Visionary Partner of World Cancer Day, and we’re looking forward to engaging with our community of Mo Bros and Sistas on February 4th to raise critical global awareness”.
Together, UICC and the Movember Foundation hope to deliver a campaign that puts the fight against all forms of cancer, firmly in the sights of the general public and key policy makers.
The failure by general hospitals to integrate physical and mental healthcare services is leading to poor care for patients with a physical illness who also happen to have a mental health condition, the latest report from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) reveals.
The study is the result of an in-depth review into 552 cases (all patients had a physical illness and a mental health condition) where the confidential enquiry looked into the impact a patient’s mental health condition had on the care they received in hospital. Most of the 552 patients had been admitted through hospital emergency departments (ED).
The NCEPOD report comes at a time when health professionals are expressing concerns that patients with a severe mental illness develop medical conditions a decade earlier in their lives than other people, and die 15 to 20 years younger as a consequence*. Also, a significant number of patients in general hospitals with physical health conditions often have more common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Calling on general hospitals to integrate physical and mental healthcare services as a matter of urgency, report co-author Dr Vivek Srivastava, NCEPOD Clinical Co-ordinator and Consultant in Acute Medicine, says that general hospital staff often don’t have the knowledge or confidence to care for people with mental health conditions appropriately: “Good care was only provided to 46% of patients in this study, showing patients who had a mental health condition suffered the double-whammy of both poor physical and mental healthcare.
“The systems don’t exist to train hospital staff appropriately in the care of patients who also happen to have a mental health condition, so immediately there is an issue with having the confidence to care for this group of patients. Once someone is admitted to hospital it is likely to expose any underlying issue such as a mental health problem, and staff need to have the confidence to deal with this, and have access to and know how to refer to mental health services.”
Dr Srivastava went on to say that as a direct result of poor physical healthcare, patients with a mental health condition stay longer in hospital: “They are often discharged into the community inappropriately and then bounce back in and out of hospital if the underlying health condition is not treated properly.”
One example of poor physical care he highlighted is the failure to provide stop smoking services routinely to people with mental health conditions: “We found high levels of smoking among the patients we reviewed – over a third of them (39.7%) were documented as a smoker compared to 19% of adults in the general population. However, only a minority received effective smoking cessation support. Primary and secondary care services must provide stop smoking services.”
Co-author Dr Sean Cross, NCEPOD Clinical Co-ordinator in Liaison Psychiatry and Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist agrees and expressed serious concern that the health of some patients is so adversely affected: “Our report reveals a massive divide between the physical healthcare and mental healthcare people receive in general hospitals. One in four of us will suffer a mental health condition at some point in our lifetime. General hospitals need to take mental healthcare seriously and understand how to provide holistic care for mind and body.”
Dr Cross also added that mental healthcare often involves use of mental health legislation. “This was not done well in 15/65 patients in the study who were detained under the legislation, either on admission to the general hospital or during their hospital stay.”
Inadequate mental health history was taken by non-mental health clinicians in 21.4% patients at initial assessment and 49.1% during consultant review
46.3% (256) of patients in the study had a review by the liaison psychiatry team during their hospital stay
The first assessment by liaison psychiatry was delayed in a third of those seen according to the reviewers. This impacted the quality of care in 22 patients
Of those patients seen by the liaison psychiatry team, the reviewers judged that their input was adequate in 68.7% of cases
185/231 hospitals had a liaison psychiatry team either available 24/7 in 51.1% hospitals and during extended hours in a further 16% of hospitals
57.3% of hospitals had a policy/protocol specifying which patients should be referred to liaison psychiatry. The liaison psychiatry team was involved in writing/reviewing the mental health hospital policy in 143 hospitals
Only 21/190 (11%) hospitals shared complete access to mental health community records
95/208 (45.7%) hospitals had mandatory training in the management of patients with mental health conditions. There were no hospitals that offered training covering all aspects of management of patients with mental health conditions
Healthcare professionals responding to a separate online survey stated that: 11.4% (151/1323) had no training in basic mental health awareness; 38.9% (497/1276) had no training in management of self-harm; 21.2% (274/1295) had no training in assessing mental health capacity; 41.4% (523/1263) had no training on risk assessment; 58.9% (727/1234) had no training in psychotropic medications; and 19.1% (248/1298) had no training in dealing with violence/aggression.
In order to overcome the divide between mental and physical healthcare, liaison psychiatry services should be fully integrated into general hospitals. The structure and staffing of the liaison psychiatry service should be based on the clinical demand both within working hours and out-of-hours so that they can participate as part of the multidisciplinary team.
All hospital staff who have interaction with patients, including clinical, clerical and security staff, should receive training in mental health conditions in general hospitals. Training should be developed and offered across the entire career pathway from undergraduate to workplace based continued professional development.
Patients who present with known co-existing mental health conditions should have them documented and assessed along with any other clinical conditions that have brought them to hospital. And when seen by mental health services (liaison psychiatry) the review should provide clear and concise documented plans in the general hospital notes at the time of assessment.
National guidelines should be developed outlining the expectations of general hospital staff in the management of mental health conditions, such as the point at which a referral to liaison psychiatry should be made and what triggers the referral.
Record sharing (paper or electronic) between mental health hospitals and general hospitals needs to be improved. As a minimum patients should not be transferred between the different hospitals without copies of all relevant notes accompanying the patient.
NCEPOD Chair, Professor Lesley Regan, said: “For many years mental healthcare in the NHS has been underfunded, and you may rightly conclude from this new NCEPOD report that patients with mental health conditions are seriously disadvantaged when treated for physical disorders in hospital. And, I fear that the patients we studied could well be only the tip of the iceberg.”
She said that a general hospital workforce, including doctors and nurses, has to be educated to understand the gap together with the training and support to have the competence and confidence to bridge the gap at every level of care.
“Treat as One found that in more than a third of the patients whose care was reviewed by liaison psychiatry but delayed, that the liaison psychiatry team did not attend until the patient was declared ‘medically fit’. However, this is a ‘catch 22’ because in many cases the physical illness cannot be treated effectively until the mental illness is recognised.
“This report should be a clarion call that we have a major problem that will be difficult to untangle, and in the meantime we are failing a significant proportion of our patients.”
Giant murals are bringing the outdoors to patients at the new £4.7m Woolverstone Macmillan Cancer Centre in Suffolk, thanks to a collaboration between leading arts & health consultants Willis Newson and Macmillan Cancer Support.
The new Woolverstone Macmillan Centre at Ipswich was completed in June 2016 and was the result of a substantial extension and reconfiguration of the existing Oncology and Haematology Day Unit.
The old unit was very cramped and the lack of space meant little privacy and dignity during treatments, it also meant it wasn’t always possible to discuss information in private, or for everyone to have family and friends with them during their treatment.
Key to the ethos of the new centre is a commitment to creating a better patient environment. Staff are able to do their job even more efficiently in a space that helps, rather than hinders and patients and their friends and family are welcomed with carefully designed interiors and courtyards which incorporate art.
The new design has created an improved therapeutic fit-for-purpose space, which will allow more people to be seen each year (21,000, up from only 9,000), new chemo suites, additional treatment bays, a separate teenage/young adult area, ‘Quiet Rooms’ and a dedicated Staff Room.
Willis Newson worked with Ipswich Hospital, construction partner Kier, interior designers from ADP architects and landscape designers, Fira on the Macmillan project.
ARTS IMPROVING WELLBEING
Willis Newson worked with the Macmillan Cancer Support team to produce an arts strategy, to consult and engage patients and then commissioned artists to produce work for the space.
Creative Director of Willis Newson, Bronwen Gwillim, delivered a series of creative engagement workshops to get to the heart of how patients wanted their new space to look and feel.
Bronwen commented: “I’ve been involved with arts and healthcare for 25 years and I know from experience that art can make a huge difference to the feel of the building.
“With this project we knew we had the chance to create somewhere really special to support the healing and wellbeing of Macmillan’s patients.
“We wanted the centre to have a unique identity, something really unique to Suffolk, and the response we got from the staff and patients really helped to develop that.”
Patients in the workshop were asked to think about their favourite place and the sensory and emotional experience of being there. They then described this place by making a simple mood board and writing words and poems.
The countryside and coastline of Suffolk emerged strongly as a theme to inspire both the artwork and interior design of the centre.
This idea was then developed into three complementary nature-based themes which are used throughout the unit to aid way-finding and navigation.
The themes create an authentic sense of place and connection to the local area by reflecting local Suffolk scenery from woodland, coastal and heathland areas.
Artists Carry Akroyd and Julia Allum created large-scale murals inspired by the perspectives shared by patients in the consultation sessions and also informed by conversations with staff.
The murals are digitally-printed onto vinyl wallcoverings which are durable, robust and comply with infection control regulations.
They include scenes from the Suffolk landscape, including the Orwell Bridge, the beach at Southwold and a typical heathland scene. They are situated in the entrance and the patients’ waiting area, in order to create a positive first impression and to provide a pleasant distraction for any patients who are anxious or stressed about their visit.
BRINGING PATIENT VIEWS INTO THE DEVELOPMENT
Kristine Lea, 56, a former psychiatric nurse from Holbrook is one of the team of patients brought together to help design the artwork.
“I’ve got ovarian cancer. I was diagnosed in 2013. There’s no cure for it. I had a year after my initial diagnosis and treatment. But last April it reoccurred and I have been on chemotherapy treatment since.
“We took the place that we love, Suffolk, the river and the countryside and the seaside and we talked about all of this.
“We tried to bring that together and talk from that about the hospital environment and the colour scheme. If you look at the finished artwork, there’s a lot of open farmland and shoreline and the heather that you see. It is our natural environment.
“I grew up here and have lived here all my life. It’s a beautiful place. To see that depicted on the walls of the hospital where you are receiving treatment is a wonderful thing for all of the people who come to the Woolverstone Macmillan Centre.”
Patient consultation was also used to inform the interior design throughout the centre, with the bright colour scheme they chose creating a bright, friendly environment.
Artworks have also been integrated into the interior and exterior spaces in other resourceful ways to enhance the design and functionality of the Woolverstone Macmillan Cancer Centre.
Detailed botanical illustrations of local flowers have been used on movable screens in treatment spaces, increasing modesty, privacy and dignity for patients and visitors.
3 laser-cut screens provide a focal point in the largest courtyard space, creating visual links between the interior and exterior by using artwork in the same style as the feature wall murals.
The powder-coated, stainless steel screens not only add interesting artistic detail to the garden area, but also offer a practical function by increasing privacy and screening off unsightly external heating units.
Kwesi Marles, Design Lead for Macmillan Cancer Support said: “We seek to create spaces in which patients’ needs come first and that reassure and reflect the excellent and expert care being delivered.
“Art can lift the spirits, calm troubled minds and provide welcome distraction. By introducing art into the cancer centre at Ipswich we seek to create unexpected delight.”
A study commissioned by the Mayor’s Fund for London gives insights into diets of children living in poorer households. It shows that one in five children living in low-income households have a maximum of just one piece of fruit and veg a day, a study has found. A poll of 2,000 parents of children aged 4-16 has revealed those living in poorer households eating less fruit and veg, fewer meals and skipping breakfast more often.
Eighteen per cent of youngsters in homes earning £10,000 or less have a maximum of just one piece of fruit and veg on an average day, with a quarter of their parents branding the five-a-day campaign ‘unrealistic’. Children in households with an income of £40,000 or less eat an average of just three portions of fruit and vegetables a day but this rises to four a day in richer homes.
Researchers also found that three quarters of parents say their food bill increases when their children are off school, with more than one in twenty saying it increases by a quarter or more. When it comes to cooking, 27 per cent say their children have no interest in helping to prepare meals, with 36 per cent saying they get no help from their partner.
The stats emerged in a study commissioned by the Mayor’s Fund for London, which is launching a £1m Kitchen Social campaign to try and increase food and activity clubs for the capital’s children during the school holidays.
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of the Mayors Fund for London said: “All parents want the best for their children, but it seems there are many struggling to give their children the diet they need.
“There are 220,000 London children entitled to free school meals during term time, but there is nothing to help ensure they receive nutritious meals during the 170 days that they are not at school.
“It is not acceptable in a city as prosperous as London for children from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds to be eating a worse diet than those in more well-off homes.
“We want to try and ensure all children have access to healthy food, regardless of their background.”
The study found more than four in ten children in homes with an income of £10,000 have days where they don’t always have three meals, compared to less than one in five children in homes earning £60,000+
More than half of those in homes with an income of £10,000-£20,000 say their children often leave the house without eating anything for breakfast.
In comparison, less than a third of parents with incomes of £60,000 or more say the same.
One in five parents of low-income households say the cost of healthy food is the main reason their child’s diet isn’t as good as it should be.
But 81 per cent of all parents agree that a child’s ability to learn can be affected by their diet and what they eat.
The study found the average child has three portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with more than one in four having days where they don’t eat three full meals.
And almost one in four parents admit their children sometimes leave the house without eating breakfast.
While four in ten blame fussy eaters for their children’s diet, 13 per cent believe it could be better if healthy food was cheaper.
And one in ten parents say time is an issue as work commitments mean convenience foods are usually their only option.
Parents also admit that when preparing their child’s packed lunch, whether or not their son or daughter will eat it is their biggest consideration, with 57 per cent saying this is a major factor guiding what they put in.
Just 33 per cent think about whether or not it is healthy.
The Mayor’s Fund for London’s new Kitchen Social campaign is aiming to raise the profile of holiday hunger and the negative impact it has on young Londoners.
It has set an initial target of raising £1m to get the project off the ground and is now calling on the capital’s businesses, community groups, borough councils, foundations, charities and individuals to join its drive to provide nutritious meals and positive activities to some 50,000 children and young people in London over the next 3 years.
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of the Mayor’s Fund for London added: “We know that it works because last year we ran several pilot projects that saw more than 4,000 healthy, balanced meals delivered to more than 600 children and young people in the school holidays.
“Additional benefits include social integration and access to group and physical activities, plus they learned about cooking and healthy eating.”
To get involved in the programme visit mayorsfundforlondon.org.uk