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Found 72 results
  1. News Article
    Only a little over half of British Indians say they would get a coronavirus vaccine, according to research. Some 56% of British Indians said they would take up a vaccine when asked by the 1928 Institute, a new think tank led by academics from the University of Oxford. However, 31% per cent were unsure, while 13% said they would decline a jab, the online poll of 510 respondents found. The think tank said much of this stemmed from people feeling they were not informed enough about the vaccines, while a significant proportion felt other people deserved to receive a vaccine more. The researchers are calling for an urgent public health campaign and funding, with messaging in different languages and co-produced with community leaders to assuage doubts. The government should also widely share information on how it is helping poorer countries distribute vaccines, given that several participants said vulnerable people and those in poorer countries should take priority, they said in their report. Read full story Source: The Independent, 21 January 2021
  2. News Article
    Advisers from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) have raised fresh concerns over Covid vaccine uptake among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities (BAME) as research showed up to 72% of black people said they were unlikely to have the jab. Historical issues of unethical healthcare research, and structural and institutional racism and discrimination, are key reasons for lower levels of trust in the vaccination programme, a report from Sage said. The figures come from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, which conducts annual interviews to gain a long-term perspective on British people’s lives. In late November, the researchers contacted 12,035 participants to investigate the prevalence of coronavirus vaccine hesitancy in the UK, and whether certain subgroups were more likely to be affected by it. Overall, the study found high levels of willingness to be vaccinated, with 82% of people saying they were likely or very likely to have the jab – rising to 96% among people over the age of 75. Women, younger people and those with lower levels of education were less willing, but hesitancy was particularly high among people from black groups, where 72% said they were unlikely or very unlikely to be vaccinated. Among Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups this figure was 42%. Eastern European groups were also less willing. “Trust is particularly important for black communities that have low trust in healthcare organisations and research findings due to historical issues of unethical healthcare research,” said the Sage experts. “Trust is also undermined by structural and institutional racism and discrimination. Minority ethnic groups have historically been underrepresented within health research, including vaccines trials, which can influence trust in a particular vaccine being perceived as appropriate and safe, and concerns that immunisation research is not ethnically heterogenous.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 January 2021
  3. News Article
    When pharmacist Ifeoma Onwuka, known to her friends as Laura, went into hospital to have her daughter, she and her husband hoped the delivery would go smoothly, and that they would soon be able to take their new arrival home  to meet her siblings.  Onwuka's labor was induced at James Paget University Hospital in Great Yarmouth in late April 2018. Things progressed quickly and there were soon signs that her baby was in distress, causing staff to begin preparations for an emergency Caesarian section, but Onwuka's daughter was born in the recovery room. Shortly after the birth, Onwuka's condition began to deteriorate. According to the family's lawyer, Tim Deeming, she began to bleed heavily, and was taken into surgery where attempts were made to stem the loss of blood. Hours later, and only after a second consultant had been called in, she was given an emergency hysterectomy. The mother-of-three died three days later. The coroner, Yvonne Blake, said an expert had told Onwuka's inquest that the delay to surgery contributed to her death, since acting early could have controlled the bleeding.  Black mothers have worse outcomes during pregnancy or childbirth than any other ethnic group in England. According to the latest confidential inquiry into maternal deaths (MBRRACE-UK). Black people in England are four times more likely to die in pregnancy or within the first six weeks of childbirth than their White counterparts.  Read full story Source: CNN. 14 January 2021
  4. News Article
    Rachel Hardeman has dedicated her career to fighting racism and the harm it has inflicted on the health of Black Americans. As a reproductive health equity researcher, she has been especially disturbed by the disproportionately high mortality rates for Black babies. In an effort to find some of the reasons behind the high death rates, Hardeman, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and three other researchers combed through the records of 1.8 million Florida hospital births between 1992 and 2015 looking for clues. They found a tantalising statistic. Although Black newborns are three times as likely to die as White newborns, when Black babies are delivered by Black doctors, their mortality rate is cut in half. "Strikingly, these effects appear to manifest more strongly in more complicated cases," the researchers wrote, "and when hospitals deliver more Black newborns." They found no similar relationship between White doctors and White births. Nor did they find a difference in maternal death rates when the doctor's race was the same as the patient's. Read full story Research paper Source: The Washington Post, 9 January 2021
  5. Content Article
    What will the Observatory aim to do? It will seek to achieve not only equality of access to services, but equal health outcomes irrespective of race. While discussions as to its functions and structure have only just begun, the Observatory’s aims are clear, and build on lessons of successes and failure from the past. It will provide a unified source of policy relevant evidence and information which would explain how and why racial disparities in health occur. While the evidence would be principally aimed at enhancing the knowledge and understanding of healthcare leaders, its outputs are intended to be publicly accessible. target outcomes, by translating the research into practical guidance, so that new and existing policy and programmes are renewed, designed and delivered to reduce disparities and begin with reviewing the impact of policy practice and programmes on the health and wellbeing of the ethnic minority health workforce, in collaboration with NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Strategy. Eliminating the adverse outcomes of racism and discrimination in the NHS’s own workforce is not optional, if the Observatory is to be a credible authority in race equality into the future.
  6. Content Article
    In this blog we will focus on several issues where there is a clear overlap between pain and patient safety concerns, inviting further debate and collaboration on this important topic through a series of questions. Consenting to treatment Consenting to treatment is vital to respecting the rights of the patient and ensuring safe care. It is also one area where we see evidence of how patient safety and pain issues can overlap. A recent example of this can be found in the publication of last month’s report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm. This highlighted a number of cases where women were unable to consent to treatment, undergoing pelvic mesh procedures without being aware that mesh would be used.[4][5] Many have since experienced adverse effects of the mesh, including severe and chronic pain, managed now by strong opioid painkillers. While in the above example lack of consent is linked to pain following treatment, there are other cases where patients lack the necessary information regarding pain during a procedure. Women who have undergone outpatient hysteroscopy procedures have highlighted concerns around informed choice, with many given little or no information beforehand about the risk of severe pain. Of those who did experience high levels of pain, some have reported that their doctor continued with the procedure despite their obvious agony, leaving them feeling traumatised and violated. [6-10] These examples go against the legal requirement for patients to be made aware of what a treatment will involve, including the associated risks.[11] They illustrate the relationship that can exist between consent, pain and patient harm. Patient safety points for further discussion: Are there other scenarios we can learn from to understand how consent impacts on pain experience and patient safety? What support do clinicians need to communicate the information in a way that is accessible, comprehensive and patient focussed? Where guidance for clinicians exists[12], why isn’t it being widely used? What can be done to make sure patients feel empowered and supported in halting procedures if the pain becomes unmanageable? Should severe procedural pain be recorded as a Serious Adverse Event? Communication In our report A Blueprint for Action we make clear the importance of engaging patients in patient safety, drawing on evidence that shows that ‘communication between clinicians and patients has a positive impact on health outcomes’.[13] When looking at issues of pain and communication, problems with the latter can often present a barrier to dealing appropriately with a patient’s pain issues. For example, evidence shows that pre-verbal children are far less likely to receive adequate pain control in comparison to their adult or older children counterparts.[14] Their inability to self-report has a direct impact on the level of pain they are likely to have to endure. Poorly managed pain in childhood can cause chronic pain, disability, and distress in adult life.[15] Similarly, there are calls for people with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) to have their pain better managed, particularly pertinent where self-reporting is not feasible. Researchers have acknowledged the communication barriers faced by patients with IDD and highlight a need for evidence-based, stakeholder-informed methods to be used, in order to assess pain and prevent unnecessary suffering[16]. This raises further questions around disparities in pain relief for patients who may struggle to communicate for other reasons. For example, if being treated in the NHS and where English is not their first language. Patient safety point for further discussion: Can examples be shared where alternative pain assessment tools have been used to meet the needs of patients with communication challenges? Bias and gatekeeping Another overlap between pain and patient safety is when it comes to access to medication and clinicians holding a gatekeeping role in this respect. Here we will look at examples of this in three different health areas: 1) Maternity The pain that women can experience in childbirth is widely recognised. Some report that pain relief was either withheld or not given within a reasonable time when they requested it during labour.[17] There can be different factors that also interact with this, with some women raising concerns around the role that racism or cultural assumptions may play in these circumstances. For example, there is a risk that black women could be denied pain relief because of a common perception that they are stronger and better able to cope.[18-19] Or, that loud vocalisations of pain may be more easily dismissed and wrongly attributed to differences in cultural expression[20], rather than seen as genuine and in need of immediate response. We have also spoken to women who felt that staff were ‘gatekeepers’ to pain relief during their labour, based on their preference leaning towards birthing with no medical intervention. The investigation into patient deaths at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust maternity and neonatal services found that the presence of such attitudes contributed to unsafe deliveries.[21] The Royal College of Midwives has also faced criticism over the language used in a campaign to encourage expectant mums to give birth without intervention, where vaginal deliveries were referred to as ‘normal births’. The College now uses the term ‘physiological births’. 2) Sickle cell anaemia Bias is evident in several patient groups, particularly in the sickle cell community. Mismanagement of pain in this group is frequent due to the assumptions held by clinicians and healthcare workers.[22] Sickle cell patients may be perceived as hypochondriacs, drug seeking or addicted to pain relief. This often leads to patients waiting long periods without (or with minimal) pain relief and can prevent them from seeking help early, potentially leading to further deterioration.[23] 3) Chronic pain Patients who suffer with chronic pain may also be waiting for long periods without adequate relief, whether attending hospital or seeing a GP. Studies have shown that up to a third of UK adults suffer from chronic pain[24] and, although guidance has been produced,[25-26] there is evidence that clinician assumptions continue. Some, for example, do not accept that Fibromyalgia (a condition that the patient suffers chronic pain) actually exists.[27] Attitudes like this can lead to patients being ignored, dismissed or sent away with minimal intervention. Sadly, for decades patients have been raising concerns around the dismissal, bias and lack of understanding surrounding the management of chronic pain.[28] A recent analysis of tweets from patients, many of whom had chronic pain, showed that harmful doctor-patient communication can impact on diagnostic safety.[29] Patient safety points for further discussion: What training is there for GPs and other clinicians regarding pain management, across different patient groups and demographics? To what extent do assumptions and biases impact how patients experience pain more broadly throughout health and social care? To what extent does institutional racism play a part? Differences in pain experience Research suggests that pain thresholds can vary. Low pain tolerance has been attributed to patients with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome[30] and intellectual and developmental disabilities[31]. Studies have also shown that gender[32], ethnicity[33] and previous trauma[34] can all contribute to people experiencing pain differently. With research indicating there are notable differences in pain thresholds, it leads us to question whether all patients have equal access to the pain relief needed to reasonably ease suffering. Patient safety points for further discussion: Are some patients at greater risk of experiencing trauma-inducing levels of pain than others? Do the methods used for determining how much pain relief to give an individual adequately recognise differences in thresholds, across all demographics? We’d like to hear your views In some ways, we end as we began - with an understanding that pain is incredibly complex. The growing concerns around opioid reliance and over-prescription add another dimension to the conversation and will challenge our thinking further. Eliminating pain altogether would undoubtedly have implications for how we are able to listen to our bodies and adjust accordingly to recover or prevent damage. However, there is clearly much to learn in order to manage peoples’ pain needs safely, effectively and without perpetuating inequalities. And we cannot ignore the continued presence of both acute and chronic pain in incidences of patient harm. Patients are describing their personal, and sometimes deeply traumatic, experiences to help key decision-makers identify where change may be needed and prevent future suffering. Their insight and lived-experience will prove crucial to this debate. The limited examples used in this blog are designed to trigger wider conversations about how we may work together to understand pain as a broader patient safety issue. We welcome the input of others who have an interest in this area. Please comment below or get in touch with the Patient Safety Learning team by emailing content@psl.org. References [1] British Pain Society, Useful definitions and glossary. [2] Katz N, The Impact of Pain Management on Quality of Life. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2002; 24; 38-47. [3] Twycross A, Forgeron P, Chorne J et al. Pain as the neglected patient safety concern: Five years on. Journal of Child Health Care. 2016; 20 (4): 537-541. [4] The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review. First Do No Harm 2020. [5] Patient Safety Learning. Findings of the Cumberlege Review: informed consent. Patient Safety Learning’s the hub 2020. [6] Patient Safety Learning. Painful Hysteroscopy. Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, Community Forum. 2020. [7] Women’s Hour. Hysteroscopy. 2019. [8] Discombe M. Hundreds of women left ‘distressed’ by hysteroscopies. Health Service Journal 2019. [9] Care Opinion. Painful hysteroscopy and biopsy. 2019. [10] Hysteroscopy Action campaign website. [11] The Supreme Court. Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board. 2015. [12] Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Outpatient Hysteroscopy. 2018. [13] Patient Safety Learning. The Patient-Safe Future: A Blueprint For Action. 2019. [14] Kirkey S. Study suggests more can be done to control pain for children. Ottawa Citizen 2014. [15] Eccleston C, Fisher E, Howard R et al. Delivering transformative action in paediatric pain: a Lancet Child & Adolescent Health Commission 2020. [16] Barney, Chantel C, Andersen et al. Challenges in pain assessment and management among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. PAIN Reports 2020; 4; 821. [17] Hill A. Women in labour being refused epidurals, official inquiry finds. The Guardian 2020. [18] Patient Safety Learning. Racial disparities in postnatal mental health: An interview with Sandra Igwe the Founder of The Motherhood Group. Patient Safety Learning’s the hub 2020. [19][19] Patient Safety Learning. Five X More campaign: Improving maternal mortality rates and health outcomes for black women. Patient Safety Learning’s the hub 2020. [20] Wyatt R. Pain and Ethnicity. Virtual Mentor. 2013; 15(5); 449-454. [21] Kirkup B. The Report of the Morcambe Bay Investigation. 2015. [22] Smith-Wynter L, van den Akker O. Patient perceptions of crisis pain management in sickle cell disease: a cross-cultural study. NT Research. 2000;5(3):204-213. [23] Hall S. “People with Sickle Cell are seen as hypochondriacs or drug addicts. Even a nine-year-old has to scream to get the care they need”. Picker. [24] NICE. Chronic pain: assessment and management. Guideline scope. 2018. [25] NICE. Analgesia - mild-to-moderate pain. Accessed 2020. [26] NICE. Chronic pain: assessment and management (in development). Page accessed 2020. [27] Häuser W, Fitzcharles MA. Facts and myths pertaining to fibromyalgia. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2018; 20 (1): 53-62. [28] Rehmeyer J. Bad science misled millions with chronic fatigue syndrome. Here’s how we fought back. Stat News. 2016. [29] Sharma AE, Mann Z, Cherian R et al. Recommendations From the Twitter Hashtag #DoctorsAreDickheads: Qualitative Analysis. J Med Internet Res 2020; 22 (10): e17595 [30] Dellwo A. Pain Threshold and Tolerance in Fibromyalgia and CFS. Verywell Health. 2020. [31] Barney, Chantel C, Andersen et al. Challenges in pain assessment and management among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. PAIN Reports: 2020; 5 (4); 821 [32] Mogil J, Bailey A. Chapter 9 - Sex and gender differences in pain and analgesia. Progress in Brain Research 2010; 186;-157. [33] Wyatt R. Pain and Ethnicity. Virtual Mentor. 2013; 15(5); 449-454. [34] Mostoufi S, Godfrey KM, Ahumada SM, et al. Pain sensitivity in posttraumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders: a preliminary case control study. Ann Gen Psychiatry 2014; 13 (1): 31.
  7. News Article
    Black and Asian people are up to twice as likely to be infected with COVID-19 compared to those of white ethnicities, according to a major new report. The risk of ending up in intensive care with coronavirus may be twice as high for people with an Asian background compared to white people, data gathered from more than 18 million individuals in 50 studies across the UK and US also suggests. The report, published in the EClinicalMedicine by The Lancet, is the first-ever meta-analysis of the effect of ethnicity on patients with COVID-19. The scientists behind it said their findings should be of "importance to policymakers" ahead of the possible roll out of a vaccine. Read full story Source: The Independent, 12 November 2020
  8. Event
    Westminster Health Forum policy conference. The agenda: Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the ethnic minority community, and priorities for improving health outcomes. The health and social care response to inequality through the pandemic and taking forward new initiatives. Understanding the data and risk factors for COVID-19 in ethnic minority groups. Wider health inequalities faced by people in ethnic minorities - addressing underlying factors, and the role of COVID-19 recovery strategies in supporting long-term change. Priorities for providing leadership in tackling health inequalities in the workforce. Driving forward and ensuring race equality in the NHS. Providing support to the ethnic minority health workforce and taking forward key learnings from COVID-19. Next steps for action in race disparity in healthcare. Book
  9. Content Article
    The report calls for urgent action and includes several recommendations: Recommendation 1: The Government must go further and set out an urgent plan for tackling the disproportionate impact of Covid on ethnic minorities this winter Recommendation 2: A national strategy to tackle health inequalities Recommendation 3: Suspend ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule during the pandemic and initiate a review Recommendation 4: Ensure Covid-19 cases from the workplace are properly recorded Recommendation 5: Strengthen Covid-19 risk assessments to ensure consistency and to give workers more confidence Recommendation 6: Improve access to PPE in all high-risk workplaces Recommendation 7: Give targeted support to people who are struggling to self-isolate at home Recommendation 8: Ensure protection and an end to discrimination for renters Recommendation 9: Raise the local housing allowance and address the root causes of homelessness Recommendation 10: Urgently conduct equality impact assessments on the Government’s support schemes to make sure Black, Asian and minority ethnic people are able to access the support they need Recommendation 11: Develop and implement a clear plan to prevent the stigmatisation of communities during Covid-19 Recommendation 12: Urgently legislate to tackle online harms Recommendation 13: Ensure everyone can access Covid-19 communication Recommendation 14: Collect and publish better ethnicity data Recommendation 15: Implement a race equality strategy Recommendation 16: Ensure all policies and programmes help tackle structural inequality Recommendation 17: Introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting Recommendation 18: End the ‘hostile environment’ Recommendation 19: Reform the curriculum to fight the root causes of racism Recommendation 20: Take action to close the attainment gap. Follow the link below to read the full report and more detailed version of the recommendations.
  10. News Article
    Minority ethnic people in UK were ‘overexposed, under protected, stigmatised and overlooked’, new review finds. Structural racism led to the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, a review by Doreen Lawrence has concluded. The report, commissioned by Labour, contradicts the government’s adviser on ethnicity, Dr Raghib Ali, who last week dismissed claims that inequalities within government, health, employment and the education system help to explain why COVID-19 killed disproportionately more people from minority ethnic communities. Lady Lawrence’s review found BAME people are over-represented in public-facing industries where they cannot work from home, are more likely to live in overcrowded housing and have been put at risk by the government’s alleged failure to facilitate Covid-secure workplaces. She demanded that the government set out an urgent winter plan to tackle the disproportionate impact of Covid on BAME people and ensure comprehensive ethnicity data is collected across the NHS and social care. The report, entitled An Avoidable Crisis, also criticises politicians for demonising minorities, such as when Donald Trump used the phrase “the Chinese virus”. The report, which is based on submissions and conversations over Zoom featuring “heart-wrenching stories” as well as quantitative data, issued the following 20 recommendations: Set out an urgent plan for tackling the disproportionate impact of Covid on ethnic minorities Implement a national strategy to tackle health inequalities Suspend ‘no recourse to public funds’ during Covid Conduct a review of the impact of NRPF on public health and health inequalities Ensure Covid-19 cases from the workplace are properly recorded Strengthen Covid-19 risk assessments Improve access to PPE in all high-risk workplaces Give targeted support to people who are struggling to self-isolate Ensure protection and an end to discrimination for renters Raise the local housing allowance and address the root causes of homelessness Urgently conduct equality impact assessments on the government’s Covid support schemes Plan to prevent the stigmatisation of communities during Covid-19 Urgently legislate to tackle online harms Collect and publish better ethnicity data Implement a race equality strategy Ensure all policies and programmes help tackle structural inequality Introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting End the ‘hostile environment’ Reform the curriculum Take action to close the attainment gap Read full story Source: The Guardian, 28 October 2020
  11. Event
    Join clinical experts, thought leaders, and advocates for a collaborative discussion on the issues of health disparities, structural racism, and medicine as they examine specific dermatologic diseases in a series of four free and open educational webinars from the Harvard Medical School. Structural racism and racial bias in medicine: Wednesday, October 28, 1:00-2:15 PM ET Hair disorders in people of colour: Thursday, November 12, 1:00-2:15 PM ET Pigmentary disorders and keloids: Wednesday, November 18, 1:00-2:15 PM ET COVID-19 Comorbidities and cutaneous manifestations of systemic diseases in adults and children: Wednesday, December 2, 1:00-2:15 PM ET Implicit bias and structural racism play a central role in the development of healthcare disparities. One of the critically important areas in medicine is the misdiagnosis of disease in people with darker skin types due to implicit bias and the lack of awareness among physicians in recogniszing the disease pattern. Clinicians in primary care, emergency medicine, hospital medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and other medical specialties can deliver improved care if they can recognize and diagnose medical conditions based on skin findings in patients of color. This four-part series aims to improve diagnosis in people of color, describe pathogenesis and treatment of diseases, develop cultural competency, and impact change in health care policy so more is done to reduce racial bias in medical practice and medical research. Providing this education, in turn, will ultimately help reduce health disparities and improve the lives of underrepresented minority populations. Register for one event or all four.