Sexual health services

The Royal of General Practitioners has responded to the new sexual health campaign from Public Health England by publishing Time to Act.

This report highlights that fragmented commissioning practices mean that GPs are increasingly unable to direct patients to the most appropriate sexual health services for their needs, and GPs are not being given adequate training to administer all different types of contraception that might benefit patients.

Full report available here

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Launch of sexual health campaign

Public Health England has launched Protect against STIs a new sexual health campaign to encourage condom use by young adults in order to reduce the rates of sexually transmitted infections.

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The campaign is the first government sexual health campaign in eight years.  To coincide with the launch of the campaign, a new YouGov survey of 2,007 young people reveals current attitudes towards condom use and what prevents them from using protection.

The findings revealed that almost half (47%) of sexually active young people said they have had sex with someone new for the first time without using a condom; whilst 1 in 10 sexually active young people said that they had never used a condom.

The new research also revealed that sexual health is a challenging topic for young adults to discuss, as 56% of men and 43% of women said that it is difficult to talk about STIs with friends. Furthermore, 58% said that if they had an STI they would find it difficult to talk to their sexual partner about it.

Visit the campaign website for more information.

A new form of nicotine retailers: a systematic review of the sales and marketing practices of vape shops.

Lee JGL, Orlan EN, Sewell KB, Ribisl KM.  A new form of nicotine retailers: a systematic review of the sales and marketing practices of vape shops.  Tob Control. 2017 Dec 05

VapingOBJECTIVE: Retailers that primarily or exclusively sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vaping products represent a new category of tobacco retailer. We sought to identify (a) how vape shops can be identified and (b) sales and marketing practices of vape shops.
DATA SOURCES: A medical librarian iteratively developed a search strategy and in February 2017 searched seven academic databases (ABI/INFORM Complete, ECONLit, Embase, Entrepreneurship, PsycINFO, PubMed/MEDLINE and Scopus). We hand searched Tobacco Regulatory Science and Tobacco Prevention & Cessation.
STUDY SELECTION: We used dual, independent screening. Records were eligible if published in 2010 or later, were peer-reviewed journal articles and focused on vape shops.
DATA EXTRACTION: We used dual, independent data abstraction and assessed risk of bias. Of the 3605 records identified, 22 were included.
DATA SYNTHESIS: We conducted a narrative systematic review. Researchers relied heavily on Yelp to identify vape shops. Vape shop owners use innovative marketing strategies that sometimes diverge from those of traditional tobacco retailers. Vape shop staff believe strongly that their products are effective harm-reduction products. Vape shops were more common in areas with more White residents.
CONCLUSIONS: Vape shops represent a new type of retailer for tobacco products. Vape shops have potential to promote e-cigarettes for smoking cessation but also sometimes provide inaccurate information and mislabelled products. Given their spatial patterning, vape shops may perpetuate inequities in tobacco use. The growing literature on vape shops is complicated by researchers using different definitions of vape shops (eg, exclusively selling e-cigarettes vs also selling traditional tobacco products).

 

Transforming children and young people’s mental health

Ways for schools and colleges to support pupils’ mental health are set out in a green paper, as well as plans for new mental health support teams.

The government has published proposals to improve mental health support for children and young people in England. Over £300 million has been made available to fund them.

The government is asking people for their views on the planned measures, which are set out in a green paper. The measures include:

  • encouraging every school and college to have a ‘designated senior mental health lead’
  • setting up mental health support teams working with schools, to give children and young people earlier access to services
  • piloting a 4-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services

Other proposals in the green paper include:

  • a new working group to look at mental health support for 16 to 25-year-olds
  • a report by the Chief Medical Officer on the impact that technology has on children and young people’s mental health, to be produced in 2018

The consultation on the green paper will run for 13 weeks until 2 March 2018.

Full paper: Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper

This short video describes the main proposals in the green paper.

Ten-year framework for mental health research

A framework for mental health research | Department of Health

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This framework provides a collective view of how mental health research should develop in the UK over the next decade. It sets out a structure to improve co-ordination and strengthen the focus on areas where mental health research is likely to translate into significant health benefit.

Published in response to a recommendation in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, the framework makes a number of recommendations to help guide the future of mental health research. These include:

  • Investigating mental illness at every stage of life
  • Putting people with lived experience at the heart of research
  • Investigating innovative responses to mental illness that go beyond medical settings
  • Improving coordination between research organisations
  • Learning from the vast amounts of data we have related to mental health
  • Developing new, flexible funding for mental health studies

The framework shows the many ways that research could help our understanding of mental health, but it also makes clear the scale of the challenges that remain to make that vital change possible.

Full document: A Framework for mental health research

Productive healthy ageing

This resource for health professionals and local authorities makes the case for action in midlife to support healthy productive later life | Public Health England

Longer, healthier lives are a benefit to society in many ways, including financial, social and cultural, because older people have skills, knowledge and experience that benefit the wider population. There is an opportunity to utilise this increased longevity as a resource, whilst challenging ageism and the view that retirement is about ‘sitting more and moving less’.

As life expectancy rises, we must promote the concept of productive healthy ageing, which involves:

  • improved health and wellbeing
  • increased independence and resilience to adversity
  • the ability to be financially secure through work and build resources
  • engagement in social activities
  • being socially connected with enhanced friendships and support
  • enjoying life in good health

Longer, healthier lives can be a benefit to society, but this requires over-65s to be more active community and economic participants.

Full detail at Public Health England

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Image Source: http://www.gov.uk

Reducing sugar in manufactured foods

The World Health Association has published Incentives and disincentives for reducing sugar in manufactured foods: an exploratory supply chain analysis. 

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This report investigates why producers use sugar in foods and why they use it in large amounts.  The report, prepared together with the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London, reveals that producers and retailers of food with high sugar content currently have many more incentives to continue using sugar than to limit its use or substitute it completely.

These incentives include:

  • the perception that sugar is the gold standard for sweetness;
  • sugar’s availability as a relatively cheap and abundant ingredient from multiple sources;
  • manufacturers’ and retailers’ focus on maintaining competitiveness;
  • manufacturers’ and retailers’ desire to maintain “choice” for consumers who still want to buy sugary foods;
  • sugar’s provision of essential functional qualities for manufactured foods; and
  • consumer concern about the use of artificial sweeteners.

The report concludes that a comprehensive approach covering the whole food system is needed in order to reduce sugar intake.

Full report: Incentives and disincentives for reducing sugar in manufactured foods: an exploratory supply chain analysis (2017)