News round-up (8 October)

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8th October 2021 about a 3 minute read

This week, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid told the Conservative Party conference that he intends to reduce the gap in health outcomes between richest and poorest. Meanwhile, NICE is piloting tools to explore the use of real-world evidence (RWE) to study real-world clinical effectiveness. Some good international news, too, as the WHO gives the go-ahead for a roll-out of a malaria vaccine to children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sajid Javid tackles health care disparities

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has restated his commitment to reducing the gap in health outcomes between richest and poorest. In his speech to Conservative Party conference, he noted that the there was a difference of 20 years in life expectancy between people in Blackpool and Richmond upon Thames.

He added that two factors were importance to success: leadership and innovation. He wanted the NHS to “embrace innovation and to build a truly modern, digitised system.”

The recently-announced review of leadership in the NHS would be “far-reaching”, he said. “It will shine a light on the outstanding leaders who drive efficiency and innovation, and see how we can replicate that leadership throughout the country.”

NICE to explore how real-world evidence can inform clinical effectiveness

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is to collaborate with health care technology company Aetion to explore how real-world evidence (RWE) can be used to study real-world clinical effectiveness.

The collaboration aims to evaluate how RWE studies can be used to fill evidence gaps and reduce uncertainties in the development of NICE guidance. NICE will also pilot tools for planning and reporting on the implementation of RWE studies. Global regulatory and health technology assessment bodies are increasingly using RWE to answer questions on the utilization, safety and effectiveness of medical treatments and technologies.

Children in Africa to receive new malaria vaccine

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that children in sub-Saharan Africa receive a new malaria vaccine. The recommendation is based on results from a pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.

The pilot has seen a 30% reduction in deadly severe malaria cases amongst children, even in areas that already benefit from insecticide-treated nets.

Malaria remains a major cause of childhood illness in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 260, 000 African children under the age of five die from the illness each year.

Digital tools essential to reducing overprescribing

A government review has described overprescribing as a “serious problem” that as “grown dramatically over the last 25 years.”

Factors contributing to the problem include the inability to access patient records and the lack of digital interoperability.

The review made several recommendations for NHSX and NHS Digital, including making sure that the NHS website and app give people culturally competent information about their medication, and commission research teams to review, develop and evaluate digital decision-support tools.

Staff at Chelsea and Westminster have new app to monitor wellbeing

Staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be able to digitally monitor their physical and mental wellbeing.

CW Innovation, a joint initiative launched two years ago between the hospital and its charity CW+, will offer the C-score app to staff, a tool from Chelsea Digital Ventures that measures and monitors users’ general health.

Other technologies introduced by CW Innovation include digital healthcare AI to improve patient care and the Acute Covid app to support redeployed NHS staff tasked with treating Covid patients.