The healthmatters blog; commentary, observation and review

Crowdfunding health eating ~ an investment opportunity

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Public Health | 0 comments

Crowdfunding health eating ~ an investment opportunity

The Lambeth GP Food Co-op is a co-operative of patients, doctors and local residents who have come together to build food growing gardens in GP surgeries. The Lambeth GP Food Co-op began in 2013 and over the past three years, we have successfully worked to:

  • Create 11 food growing gardens in Lambeth GP surgeries.
  • Partner with King’s College Hospital, building the Jennie Lee garden.
    Help improve the health and wellbeing, diet and nutrition of hundreds of Lambeth patients.
  • Implement a local sustainable food supply chain enabling patient grown fruit and vegetables to be sold at King’s College Hospital in partnership with Medirest/Compass.
  • Raise awareness of malnutrition and poor diet in collaboration with the Lambeth and Southwark Malnutrition Project, Feeding Britain and other food -focused organisations.
  • Influence current health thinking on gardening and its contribution to improving health and wellbeing – King’s Fund Report, Gardening and Health 2016.
  • Recently awarded the Best Sustainable Food Initiative in the NHS by Public Health England and the NHS Sustainability Unit.
    One of our lettuces grown by patients won third prize in last year’s Royal Horticultural Society’s London competition.

We are proud to have created the first community-led health co-operative working in and for the NHS. In the words of Dr Phil Hammond The Lambeth GP Food Co-op “shows the power of cooperation and collaboration, and the kindness and shared purpose that is at the heart of the NHS.”

There is more work to do and we are passionately committed to improving people’s lives through gardening and mutual support, but to continue our work we need your help. Not only to keep the show on the road but to undertake something much more sustainable and long lasting. We believe that we can build on our achievements so far and create a social co-operative that lasts.

With your investment, we will be in a strong position to respond to the many opportunities that are coming our way. We wish to reduce our dependency on external grants and be able to generate income in the future.  By investing in the Lambeth GP Food Co-op, we are offering you a once in a lifetime opportunity to become a co-owner of a social business that is committed to doing good. Having a share in the Lambeth GP Food Co-op gives you an opportunity to help shape our future. We are confident that we can generate significant income in the future. We have applied to HMRC for Advance Assurance for Social Investment Tax Relief that would enable you to reclaim 30% of whatever you invest against your income tax.

Our future business opportunities include working with and supporting GPs in other boroughs to reduce social isolation and poor health outcomes by building more food growing gardens. We also wish to work with Children’s hospitals to build food growing gardens for children in long stay wards. This follows an initial invitation from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children to submit a preliminary proposal.

We can only succeed in the future with your support. We invite you to join us on the next stage of our journey by investing in us. You can do this by visiting our Crowdfunder page at On this page, you will find more information about making a financial contribution. Alternatively, you can send your cheque to Lambeth GP Food Co-op, Canterbury House, 1 Royal Street, London SE1 7LL.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us by email or phone 0790 883 4203.

Lambeth GP Food Co-op, Canterbury House, 1 Royal Street, London, SE1 7LL

Market woes at Capita and in private healthcare

Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Market woes at Capita and in private healthcare

The News from Nowhere team pick up on some Capita woes, with some eye catching personnel moves, and hear of some interesting re-positioning of the private healthcare market incentivising private patients to have their care delivered in the public sector.

Turn around at ‘Capita’?

Many support services for General Practice, including payments to practices, enrolling new medical staff, providing necessary official documents (like sickness certificates), moving records between practices, registering new patients and managing staff pension arrangements, were centralised and out-sourced in 2015 to the commercial company ‘Capita’, in a £330 million NHS contract.

Rebecca Thomas at the Health Services Journal has unearthed a story of commercial failure HSJ October 13. Complaints about ‘Capita’s performance were made by the BMA, and triggered a remedial intervention by NHS England, including embedding what sounds like a NHS turn-around team in ‘Capita’, with daily reviews of performance. Ironically, the person at NHS England who ran these primary care support services before they were out-sourced to ‘Capita’, Jill Matthews, has been made a ‘stakeholder director’ in ‘’Capita’ whilst two senior members of Capita have been removed from managing the contract.

Squeezed out

Elsewhere in the marketplace the chief executive of the UK’s largest independent hospital group called on private hospitals and medical insurers to work closer together to improve the value of the private healthcare offering and to ensure it meets people’s needs. Speaking at the LaingBuisson, Private Acute Healthcare Conference on 12th October 2016, to an audience of investors, directors, finance executives, insurers and hospital operators, Jill Watts urged hospital operators and insurers to seek ways to add real value to insured patients and to relieve the pressures on the NHS.

Noting that the take-up of private health insurance has been in decline since 2008, with levels only recently stabilising, Jill Watts said:

“We’ve heard time and again from insurers that private hospitals need to be more affordable in order to reinvigorate the market. But price is not the issue – the issue is how we can attract more people back into private healthcare and offer a broader range of services which will put more balance into the overall system.

“More and more, we are seeing narrower insurance products with exclusion clauses emerge. And we continue to see them give incentives for private patients to have their care delivered in the public sector. This just devalues the insurance product and puts additional pressure on the NHS. The reality is that even if you do have access to top level private insurance you are still likely to have to rely on the public sector at some stage to meet your overall health needs.

“Unlike other countries where private hospitals play a much larger role in the delivery of the nation’s healthcare, the UK private sector has traditionally had a  limited offering mainly focused around elective surgical procedures. The range of services offered does not really match the growing demand for healthcare in the UK.

“As the pressure on the overall system builds and waiting lists in the NHS grow, we are seeing an increasing number of people that are prepared to pay for their own care. Certainly a core part of our strategy at BMI Healthcare is our investment in broadening the range of services that we offer, particularly in our flagship sites where we have the capability to offer a much broader range of services outside of the traditional surgical model.

“It is pleasing that insurers and hospitals are starting to work closer together to be more assertive in actively influencing the shape of our future. As an industry, we do need to take a more strategic approach to finding ways to alleviate pressure away from the NHS.

“The private sector has a lot to offer the overall system and we have a long track record of delivering excellent patient outcomes and high levels of patient satisfaction in a cost effective way. We need to take a more active role in positioning ourselves to governments as supporting and complementing the NHS to reduce the overall pressure on the system, not in competition with it.”

How speech recognition technology can reduce clinical documentation workload

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Blog, NHS | 0 comments

How speech recognition technology can reduce clinical documentation workload

The rise on rise of technology has triggered a fourth industrial revolution. No industry has been able to avoid this new paradigm – and the healthcare industry is certainly no exception. From the introduction of connected medical devices, to the introduction of the electronic health records (EHR), tech is set to change the healthcare experience for both the patient and doctor.

But as technology transforms patient expectations, the NHS is facing its own pressures. A growing and aging population, governmental reforms, and stringent funding demands are pushing healthcare professionals to breaking point as they must deliver quality medical care for a rapidly expanding list of patients, who are becoming more and more health conscious.

Face to face time with patients is frequently cited by doctors’ as their greatest motivator, yet administrative tasks are highly taxing on a doctor’s time. Most physicians report that they spend more than 50 per cent of their working day compiling, reviewing and updating clinical documentation.

As the health system powers towards its target of a paperless NHS by 2020, the archaic documentation process continues to pose a significant challenge to doctors for whom the EHRs are yet another administrative process. A more intelligent process must be instigated if healthcare professionals are to spend more time with patients while producing high quality clinical records.

A smarter approach Rather than merely expecting doctors to digitise their records, the NHS should be looking at what technologies will enable healthcare professionals to produce digital records in a more efficient and accurate way. This is not only crucial to ensure that clinical documents are prepared quickly so doctors can see their next patient, but also to support them in creating more complete records of the patient story which supports effective long term treatment.

Many health trusts are now turning to  speech recognition technology to support their practice in creating patient documents. Beyond the speed advantage of using speech-enabled clinical documentation, talking through the patients history enable doctors to provide a clearer insight into the patient’s habits and lifestyle. Recent research has shown that a significant part (68 per cent) of the patient record is ‘narrative’. This extra information can play an important role in building the real patient story, which goes beyond simply documenting symptoms and prescriptions, and supports a more holistic, preventative approach to healthcare.

Tech-enabled treatment
While some healthcare professionals may feel sceptical about introducing more technology into the doctors’ surgery, research suggests that 58% of patients feel that the use of technology in the clinical setting improves healthcare experiences.

Currently, the most notable technology in the exam room is the use of desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. 69% of people are noticing technology becoming increasingly implemented by doctors, and 97% of these people were comfortable with its use.

However, health professionals shouldn’t limit themselves to simply implementing the technology that we are more accustomed to as consumers, and instead look to the innovations that are truly revolutionising the way that people work.

Utilising speech-enabled has the ability in healthcare to give doctors more time, help them create more accurate records, and reduce the burden of the EHRs. We must harness this potential if we are to help doctors be effective and efficient at work, and provide a better patient journey.

Simon Wallace, Chief Clinical Information Officer at Nuance Communications

UK cities are failing to turn economic growth into better lives

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Public Health, Steps towards Health and Wellbeing | 0 comments

UK cities are failing to turn economic growth into better lives
Launched today, the Legatum Institute’s 2016 UK Prosperity Index finds that UK cities are failing to turn their economic growth into better lives for people.

The UK Prosperity Index is the first of its kind for the UK. It defines and measures prosperity through seven pillars—Economic Quality, Business Environment, Education, Health, Safety & Security, Social Capital, and Natural Environment—it covers 389 local authority areas.

Reinforcing the new Prime Minister’s agenda to deliver a country that “works for everyone”, the report spells out who the country isn’t working for and makes recommendations for how that might change.

Headline findings include:

  • Urban Britain is failing to deliver prosperity: When prosperity is compared to an area’s wealth, just 34 of the UK’s 138 urban areas are delivering notably more prosperity that their wealth would suggest (a surplus). The rest have marked prosperity deficits.
  • Poor by prosperous: The top ten most prosperous areas represent a staggering cross-section of the nation’s wealth, from an economic output per head of around £14,000 (putting it within the ten poorest) to £33,000 (just outside the 20 richest). How well local areas do in turning their wealth into prosperity—rather than their wealth alone—is by far the strongest predictor of how prosperous they are.
  • Deliver on life chances and you deliver on prosperity: Life chances—health, social capital, education level, wellbeing, and sense of opportunity—are the best predictor of whether a local area is delivering a prosperity surplus.
  • Social capital has the potential to be a potent driver of prosperity through real localism: Social capital — when community-focused — has the potential to supercharge prosperity through localism, using direct community-level decision-making. When social capital is more identity-based, however, this is harder to achieve.

This is the first time that the distribution of prosperity has been measured in the UK at this very local level. The report is also the first tool of its kind in the UK to use both objective and subjective data, measuring not only how prosperous an area is, but also how prosperous its citizens feel. The Index highlights the widespread failure of the UK’s urban areas to deliver prosperity with their higher wealth, the critical role of life chances in this, and the power of localism to transform prosperity delivery.

Most prosperous:

  1. Waverley
  2. Mole Valley
  3. Winchester
  4. St Albans
  5. Chiltern
  6. South Oxfordshire
  7. Mid Sussex
  8. East Hampshire
  9. East Dunbartonshire
  10. Guilford

Least prosperous:

  1. Stoke-on-Trent
  2. Liverpool
  3. Barking and Dagenham
  4. Blaenau Gwent
  5. Sandwell
  6. Glasgow
  7. Nottingham
  8. Middlesbrough
  9. Blackpool
  10. Kingston upon Hull

The report’s author, Harriet Maltby (Head of Policy Research at the Legatum Institute), said:

“The UK’s cities are letting down many of their residents by failing to turn their higher wealth into real prosperity, a prosperity, as much about wellbeing as wealth. They’re failing because they are struggling to provide basic life chances to the large numbers who live there.”

“If there is no good school for your child, your environment and lifestyle is unhealthy, and you don’t have people around you to depend on, then many more life opportunities are closed to you. Theresa May is right to focus on those who feel left behind because this Index proves they have been.”

“The challenge for Government is that government alone cannot provide all the answers. Many of the obstacles to prosperity are deeply local. Rather than try to solve the problems, government should better empower local government and communities to take the action they are best placed to know, if true prosperity is to reach everyone”

  1. A full methodology document and interactive map is available at

Medical education in under-served areas.

Posted by on Oct 12, 2016 in Public Health | 0 comments

Medical education in under-served areas.

The costs of medical education are so great that some believe that students from lower income families are put off from applying, reinforcing medicine’s image as a profession for the already privileged. The latest attempt to overcome the cost barrier comes from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), which in partnership with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUHT), will offer scholarships for its medicine degree, aimed specifically at students residing in the East Lancashire and Cumbria regions.

The scholarships, which will commence in September 2017, are for the MBBS (Bachelor Medicine Bachelor Surgery) degree which consists of a modern, integrated training programme. UCLan is seeking local students whose circumstances mean they are unlikely to study medicine despite being academically capable, in order to promote social mobility and widen participation.

The MBBS course at UCLan was designed in partnership with local NHS Trusts, enabling it to be built around the workforce needs of these partners. The scholarships are part of a wider, long-term UCLan strategy to attract and retain local doctors to NHS employment in the region – given the issues both Lancashire and Cumbria have faced around attracting and retaining health professionals.

Due to the restriction on the number of government funded UK medical training places at the time, UCLan has until now only been able to accept full fee-paying international students. However, the launch of these scholarships for local students has come as the health secretary announced an additional 1,500 medical training places. UCLan has already announced its intention to bid for share of these, in order to realise the goal of developing a sustainable medical workforce in Lancashire and Cumbria.

Professor Cathy Jackson, head of the UCLan’s School of Medicine, said: “We developed the MBBS course in partnership with our local NHS Trusts, and the aim has always been to provide a channel to train local doctors to then practise in these communities. These scholarships are just the start, and show our commitment – and that of our partner Trusts – to address the issues around doctor recruitment that these regions face.

“By focusing on local students we not only promote social mobility, but increase the chances that these graduates will stay and practise in the local communities – rather than being drawn off to work in urban centres.”

Kevin McGee, Chief Executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust are keen to support our local community in any and every way we can. What better way to do this than to facilitate the medical training of a local, aspiring doctor who can then go on to join ‘the best of the best’ – our clinical workforce. The Trust is delighted to partner with and support UCLan’s new medical school and we look forward to providing ongoing medical education to their students.”

Stephen Eames, Chief Executive at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to be a partner alongside UCLan in the development of the Dr Kate Granger scholarship. This is a fantastic opportunity for a local student to train at their local hospital. In addition, it is one of the many steps we are taking to address our longstanding medical recruitment difficulties. We have had to start thinking ‘out of the box’ when planning our future workforce models and our partnership with UCLan will help us to both grow our own medical talent and bring in new expertise for the benefit of patient care in West, North & East Cumbria.”

The McKenzie scholarship from ELHT is named after Sir James Mackenzie – one of Lancashire’s most illustrious medical researchers – while the Kate Granger scholarship from NCUHT is named after the health campaigner and geriatrician behind the #hellomynameis campaign. Both include all fees for five years tuition, plus a bursary for subsistence. It is not clear if there will be conditions for these scholarships, like a fixed period of working in the donor areas, but this would seem sensible to prevent too much mobility – the drift to the medical golden triangle of Oxford-London-Cambridge being the obvious example.


The final deadline for applications is 15th January 2017. For more information, visit:

Receptionists could put people off seeing their GP

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in NHS | 0 comments

Receptionists could put people off seeing their GP

FORTY PER CENT of people say that having to talk through their symptoms with doctors’ receptionists could put them off going to their GP, according to an analysis of the Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM)* published today (Tuesday) in the Journal of Public Health.

In a survey of almost 2,000 people** in Great Britain, the most commonly perceived barriers to seeing a GP were finding it difficult to get an appointment with a particular doctor (42 per cent), or at a convenient time (42 per cent), and disliking having to talk to GP receptionists about symptoms (40 percent).

Women were more likely to report these barriers.***

Those from a lower socio-economic background were more likely to report a number of possible ‘emotional’ barriers like worrying about what the GP might find, having tests and talking about symptoms. They were also more likely to say they would be put off going to their GP if they couldn’t see a particular doctor.

Across all groups, not wanting to be seen as someone who makes a fuss was a commonly perceived barrier to seeking help (35 per cent).

With UK cancer survival lagging behind other developed countries, it’s crucial that action is taken to reduce the late diagnosis of cancer.

Dr Richard Roope, Cancer Research UK’s GP expert, said: “Diagnosing cancer early is something we have to take seriously, so anything that might prevent people from getting their symptoms checked needs to be overcome.

“We need to ensure that patients are able to get appointments at a convenient time, can book an appointment to see a particular doctor and aren’t put off coming to see them in the first place. This may mean more emphasis on training front desk staff including receptionists to deal more sensitively with patients.

“And it’s vital that the recent investment from Government is used to attract talented people into the medical profession, which will boost the GP shortage. We need more doctors to cope with the growing number of people walking through their doors.”

Dr Jodie Moffat, lead author and head of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said: “There’s still more to learn about the things that may put people off going to their doctor, and how important they are when it comes to actually influencing behaviour.

“But it’s clear that a new sign or symptom, or something that has stayed or got worse over time, needs to be checked out by a GP. Don’t let anything put you off. The chances of surviving cancer are greater when it’s caught at an early stage, before it’s had a chance to spread, and seeking help sooner rather than later could make all the difference.”

* Moffat, J. et al. Identifying anticipated barriers to help-seeking to promote earlier diagnosis of cancer in Great Britain. Journal of Public Health. Doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.08.012

** Representative sample of the general population


Barriers Men Women
I don’t like having to talk to the GP receptionist about my symptoms 36.6% 42.6%
I find it difficult to get an appointment with a particular doctor 36.5% 47.5%
I find it difficult to get an appointment with a doctor at a convenient time 40.7% 44.9%


Royal Society of Public Health calls for lower drink driving limit

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Public Health | 0 comments

Royal Society of Public Health calls for lower drink driving limit

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has joined a wide range other groups calling for MPs to reduce the UK’s high drink driving limit. There is also strong public support for lowering the limit, with the British Social Attitude Survey recently finding that three quarters of the public (77%) support lowering the drink driving limit. Lowering our drink drive limit to 50mg alcohol per 100ml blood could reduce drink driving deaths by at least 10%.

England and Wales currently have one of the highest drink drive limits in the world. Set at 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood since 1965, it is greater than the rest of Europe (with the exception only of Malta), as well as Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Scotland lowered its limit to 50mg in December 2014, and police figures showed a 12.5% decrease in drink-drive offences in the first nine months. Northern Ireland is set to lower its drink driving limit before the end of 2016.

Although the Government states that drink driving ‘remains a priority’, there has been no reduction in the number of drink driving deaths since 2010. Every year, drink driving causes 240 deaths and more than 8,000 casualties in the UK. This costs £800 million a year. 60% of those who are killed or injured are people other than the driver, such as passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

A two-minute animation produced by the Institute of Alcohol Studies to support the campaign outlines the key arguments.

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH, said: “Lowering the drink drive limit is a no-brainer from a road safety perspective, with RSPH’s own research having found that two thirds of drivers who admit drink driving saying they would not do so if this were to happen [5]. England and Wales have been out of step with international best practice on this issue for some time – it’s high time we caught up. From a public health perspective, lowering the limit may also have a positive effect on reducing alcohol consumption levels overall.”

Katherine Brown, Director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: “Recent decades have seen great improvements in road safety, but progress on drink driving has ground to a halt. With hundreds of lives lost each year, we can’t afford to let England and Wales fall behind our neighbours in road safety standards.

“It’s time the Government looked at the evidence and what other countries are doing to save lives and make roads safer. We need to make drink driving a thing of the past, and to do this we need a lower drink drive limit.”


The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson

Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in Book and article review | 0 comments

The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson

“Healthmatters originally reviewed The Spirit Level first edition over six years ago and it was by accident that I picked up the second edition on holiday. I was unaware of the original review, that being before-my-time in working with the healthmatters team, but my eye was caught by the sleeve note detailing that it was an updated version with a response-to-critics-section.

Intrigued I jumped immediately to page 200 or so and read the 30 pages detailing the responses to criticisms received since first publication. I was enthralled by the concise, clear and informative response to the range of criticism that had been leveled at the first edition. Not only were the responses easily understood by me a lay-man, backed up by well explained secondary sources of information but they so well de-constructed those criticising that at times I thought I was reading a written description of a cartoon lampooning someone of merit-less mind. The responses not only laid bare the flaws in the nature of the criticism very clearly but also in some cases described the motivation of those authoring the criticism.

Now fully ensconced by the writers and intrigued by the tendrils of information seen I turned to the start and read the whole book over the next three or four days. This type of work is not my normal reading of choice, normally I range from Ian M Banks to Adrian Goldsworthy, with little or no academic work of this nature in between, but the contents enthralled me and has frequently been part of my conversations since. This work not only gave me unforeseen insight and understanding across the range of areas inequality deforms, but also made me realise how comfortable I had become in my own ignorance in these matters. To me this work has helped explain the underpinning factors I heave watched being reported on in many national and international news events recently, events that no longer get the in-depth journalistic attention they deserve in the current media environment of sound bite reporting. To me this work helps explain some of the drivers behind the Brexit vote, people joining ISIS and of course Donald Trump; Why?

The Spirit level is a really good work of balanced, clearly laid out and well reasoned explanation around things that affect our modern life that I had held at arms length previously. I have been recommending this book to anyone who would listen to me, boringly and repeatedly

Andrew Minhinnick

The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson available through the Equality Trust
ISBN-10: 0241954290
ISBN-13: 978-0241954294″

Can health be affected by a patient’s location?

Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in Public Health | 0 comments

Can health be affected by a patient’s location?

Dr Francine Watkins, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Director of the Master of Public Health Programmes at the University of Liverpool, discusses the issues that affect the quality of health within communities in the UK, and how a patient’s location may be a key factor in health inequality. 

The number of people living in relative poverty in the UK has risen for the first time in nearly a decade, with almost 10 million individuals sitting below 60 per cent of the average household income[1]. The figures, which cover 2014–2015, appear to coincide with government initiatives to reduce support for the poorest people in the country. Shockingly, child poverty has also risen by 200,000 to 2.5 million­1 in the same time frame, which is the first increase since 2006.

The issue of poverty in the UK is topical, with changes to healthcare policies being publically scrutinised and NHS cuts set to reduce the number of community-health initiatives and interventions available within the community. These cuts will make it harder for individuals to gain access to the healthcare services they need. Deprivation is another factor consistently linked to higher rates of morbidity and mortality, and a lower uptake of healthcare services such as medication reviews and screening – which adds to the problem.[2] As the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the issue of health inequality. This makes it all the more important for healthcare professionals to understand their role within the sector and address the ways in which they can improve the quality of health within their communities.

There are large variations in social determinants of health across the UK, and this strongly correlates with health outcomes. Where an individual lives and works are key factors that can impact on morbidity and mortality. Someone living in an area of high deprivation is more likely to have reduced access to quality education and good-quality housing, and this not only impacts on their health status, but also can affect their career and life choices. Poor-quality housing also correlates strongly with poor health and higher mortality rates.

Communities around the UK have different social, political and cultural backdrops that can impact on the success – or failure – of different health-improvement strategies, so having a localised understanding of the community is imperative. Within changing political and economic landscapes, public-health professionals need to continue to develop their range of skills and knowledge, because this can help them assess and tackle the breadth of issues they may face. Understanding localised data from a combination of sources can allow public-health professionals to develop and successfully inform policies and strategies, which can in turn contribute to reducing levels of poverty.

It is important for public-health practitioners to identify where health inequalities stem from within a particular community and, in some cases, their prevalence in wider society. Addressing the inequalities of social determinants will enable health inequality to be tackled. Healthcare professionals also need to have a good understanding of the organisation of health systems, because this will allow them to access the resources needed to implement effective strategies and interventions. However, public-health professionals should develop the necessary skills to interpret various data sources and manage their teams to successfully implement localised strategies, because this will allow them to tackle public-health problems.

It is essential for public-health professionals to ensure that they have the ability and skills to influence policy and decision-making at the highest level. Through the University of Liverpool’s fully online platform, students are part of a global classroom that enables them to clearly understand best practices and learn about other projects from around the world. Health professionals need to acquire the skills that will allow them to address health inequalities within their communities, regardless of where they are based. The development of all these skills is a fundamental part of studying for a Master of Public Health.

The online programmes at the University of Liverpool provide busy working professionals with the skills and knowledge they need, not only to develop effective prevention strategies and health-improvement schemes, but also to ensure they can confidently implement them by learning how to empower the communities in which they work. The online programme is designed to provide professionals with the opportunity to apply their learnings to their day jobs throughout the course of the programme, and implement strategies that will benefit communities without delay.

For more information about the online health programmes at the University of Liverpool, visit here.


[1] Households Below Average Income: An analysis of the UK income distribution: 1994/95-2014/15

[2] The NHS Atlas

New Data Generation use personal information as bargaining chips for better quality of life

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in Public Health | 0 comments

New Data Generation use personal information as bargaining chips for better quality of life

A new data generation has emerged that is acutely aware of its consumer capital and the benefits this brings to individuals and society, according to a study by SAS, the leader in analytics and the Future Foundation, an independent research agency.

The study reveals eight out of 10 guard their data unless they get something in return

The majority (69 per cent) of this “Data Generation” (compromising 16- to 34-year-olds) view their own personal information as “bargaining chips” to enhance their lives. The data generation expect a hyper-personalised service from brands, who risk failing to survive in this new environment if they don’t exploit open and cloud-ready advanced analytics to better understand these customers.

This data generation expects hyper-personal insight into every aspect of their lives, where their habits, preferences and moods are taken into account so that predictive analytics can enhance their health, prosperity and future life potential. Only 12 per cent are happy to share their personal data without a second thought.  Yet, when asked to consider sharing in specific situations their psyche changed – with nearly three in five (57 per cent) willing to share their own data to make their lives easier.

More than two-thirds (67 per cent) are comfortable sharing with the healthcare sector, 57 per cent with financial institutions, 50 per cent with the public sector, 45 per cent with utilities, 32 per cent with retailers and just 28 per cent with social media companies. These preferences differed depending on their levels of trust and the value they recoup for sharing their data:  

•    Healthcare: Propensity to share driven by desire to optimise future health: keen to improve the NHS, 40 per cent are happy for the NHS to sell their anonymised data to third parties

•    Public Sector: Appetite to share hindered by concern it could be used against them: 62 per cent are sceptical that the data they share is used well by government agencies

•     Retail: Welcoming an era of ‘Me Me’ pricing: having wised up to enhanced marketing techniques, more than half (51 per cent) will purposefully abandon their virtual shopping basket at checkout to benefit from retailer re-targeting that induces a better price

•    Energy: An exposed generation looking for control: only 18 per cent trust their energy supplier to find them the best deal, leaving more than half (51 per cent) interested in home control apps in the future. Worryingly, only 48 per cent would ‘share their energy consumption with energy suppliers to help them manage personal energy consumption and capacity at the national grid’

•    Financial Institutions: Consumers seek hyper-personalised control: nearly three in five (58 per cent) are interested in a service that calculates future financial situations using current work trajectory and spending habits and see potential from sharing their driving habits with insurers – such as being guided to cheaper petrol stations (41 per cent), having coffee pre-prepared at stop-offs (21 per cent) and offers on the move (23 per cent)

•     Social Media: Hold back from social media sharing: amid corporate over-sharing and the eroding of trust,68 per cent are uncomfortable sharing data with social media companies

Mark Wilkinson, SAS Regional Vice President – Northern Europe, said: “The Data Generation are amenable to sharing more forms of data, provided it gives them control as they navigate turbulent macro-economic conditions and fluid career projections. The organisations that will prosper in the future, will demonstrate how they can enhance the Data Generation’s life potential and that of society. This will require organisations to embrace analytics architectures that are more accessible, flexible and can easily scale to problems of any size. All industries need access to a simple, open and cloud-ready platform that can complement other technologies and open source software.”

This is an era where organisations make multi-million pound decisions based on access to highly relevant and personal customer insights derived from enhanced computational power and analytics. The “Data Generation” is driven by new motivations that society is not yet fully accustomed to. For sectors to provide the new data savvy generation with what they are looking for, they must understand their motivations. This is a generation that:

•    Worry that their jobs will be replaced by robots: they recognise a need for dexterity in learning, with 78 per cent expecting to keep learning new skills throughout their life, and four out of 10 prepared to invest either their own time or money into acquiring data science skills

•    Feel financially naked: as they experience turbulent macroeconomic conditions, austerity measures and fluid career projections they look to their own data to gain control and self-sufficiency

•    Want to quantify every aspect of their lives: being visibly in control is a powerful aspiration, with almost two-thirds (61 per cent) interested in collecting and interpreting real-time information to make better life choices

•    Expect total recall: they have embraced information recovery, with 65 per cent expecting brands to have total recall of previous interactions to help them find exactly what they are looking for

•    Are becoming a generation of forecasters: want the ability to predict every aspect of their lives to feel more in control of their own futures

•    Look to computers to learn for them: artificial intelligence is becoming a computerised advantage offering a personal touch to individuals to help them predict future scenarios by converting the analysis of large data sets into natural language

•    Live in a ‘Me Me Me World’: expect hyper personal communication based on lifestyle, beliefs, moods and aspirations that feed into the what, when, why and how they are communicated with

The research report, Analytics for the Future: The New Data Generation, commissioned by SAS and conducted by independent research agency Future Foundation, polled 2,000 people across the UK aged between 16 and 34. It explored the current relationship this group has with their own personal data and how they will interact with government, public sector bodies, healthcare, retail, utilities and social media in the future. For more information around the emerging trends and sector opportunities, please download the full report.