Transition between inpatient mental health settings and community or care home settings

NICE has published Transition between inpatient mental health settings and community or care home settings (NG53).

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This guideline covers the period before, during and after a person is admitted to, and discharged from, a mental health hospital. It aims to help people who use mental health services, and their families and carers, to have a better experience of transition by improving the way it’s planned and carried out.

Additional link: NICE press release


5 million adults lack basic literacy and numeracy skills

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has published a report ‘5 million adults lack basic literacy and numeracy skills’.

Literacy and numeracy skills
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This report shows that five million adults are lacking basic reading, writing and numeracy skills essential to everyday life and being able to find and secure work.

It means some adults may struggle to carry a number of basic tasks, ranging from writing short messages, using a cash point to withdraw money, being able to understand price labels on food or pay household bills.

A further 12.6 million adults lack basic digital skills – meaning they struggle to carry out tasks as send emails or fill out online job application forms. JRF’s research shows the internet is considered essential by the public in an era when access public services and good deals for essentials are increasingly found online.

JRF said the figures painted a troubling picture of people being let down the education system or left behind in the modern economy, with little opportunity to improve their skills.

Some key facts are:

  • A large proportion of young people in England are entering adulthood without the skills to get by:
  • 23% of 16-18 year olds, 17% of 19 – 24 year olds are at the lowest level of literacy (level 1 or below), compared to 19% of 55-65 year olds.
  • 29% of 16-18 year olds, 25% of 19 – 24 year olds are at the lowest level of numeracy (level 1 or below), compared to 26% of 55-65 year olds.
  • In other nations, young people significantly outperform older people. By contrast and of significant concern, older people have higher literacy and numeracy scores than young people in England:
  • For the oldest age group in the study (55 – 65), England is third in the international rankings for literacy, for the youngest age group (16-18) it is 18th.
  • England is the only country where the average literacy score of the youngest age group (16-18 years) is lower than that of the oldest age group (55-65 years).

Read more here

JCVI statement on the nasal spray flu vaccine

Department of Health | First published: 26 August 2016

Using the nasal spray flu vaccine for the UK childhood influenza immunisation programme: advice from JCVI

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The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reviewed updated data from the 2015 to 2016 season in the UK and other countries on the effectiveness of the nasal spray vaccine, in light of emerging evidence of low effectiveness of the nasal spray vaccine reported in the United States (US).

This statement sets out the committee’s advice for continuation of the childhood influenza immunisation programme in using the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV, the nasal spray vaccine).

Read the full statement here

Advice on low risk alcohol consumption

The UK Chief Medical Officers have published UK Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines.


The guidelines provide the most up to date scientific information to help people make informed decisions about their own drinking. The intention is to help people understand the risks alcohol may pose to their health and to make decisions about their consumption in the light of those risks, but not to prevent those who want to drink alcohol from doing so.

Additional link: Government response to the public consultation

Dietary recommendations


As part of the Eatwell Guide policy tool, Public Health England has published Government dietary recommendations: government recommendations for food energy and nutrients for males and females aged 1-18 years and 19+ years.

This document provides the government’s recommendations for food energy and nutrients for the general population. Anyone with a medical condition should consult their GP or a registered dietitian for dietary advice.

Related: The Eatwell Guide

Excess weight linked to eight more cancer types

Limiting weight gain may help to reduce risk of eight cancers | Science Daily | New England Journal of Medicine


An international team of researchers has identified eight additional types of cancer linked to excess weight and obesity: stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovary, meningioma (a type of brain tumor), thyroid cancer and the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

Limiting weight gain over the decades could help to reduce the risk of these cancers, the data suggest.

The findings, published Aug. 25 in The New England Journal of Medicine, are based on a review of more than 1,000 studies of excess weight and cancer risk analyzed by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer on Research (IARC), based in France.

Full reference: Lauby-Secretan, B. et al.  Body Fatness and Cancer — Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group. New England Journal of Medicine, 2016; 375 (8): 794 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsr1606602

Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) explained

The Kings Fund has published ‘Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) explained’.

Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) were announced in the NHS planning guidance published in December 2015. NHS organisations in different parts of the country have been asked to come together to develop ‘place-based plans’ for the future of health and care services in their area. Draft plans were submitted in June 2016, and final plans are expected to be completed in October. But what do STPs really mean? And what will they mean for the NHS?

What are STP’s
STPs are five-year plans covering all areas of NHS spending in England. A total of 44 areas have been identified as the geographical ‘footprints’ on which the plans will be based, with an average population size of 1.2 million people (the smallest area covers a population size of 300,000 and the largest 2.8 million). A named individual has been chosen to lead the development of each STP. Most come from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and NHS trusts and foundation trusts, but a small number of STP leaders come from local government.

What do they mean for the NHS?
STPs represent a shift in the way that the NHS in England plans its services. While the Health and Social Care Act 2012 sought to strengthen the role of competition within the health system, NHS organisations are now being told to collaborate rather than compete to respond to the challenges facing their local services. This new approach is being referred to as place-based planning.

Where next?
STPs could provide a foundation for a new way of planning and providing health services based around the needs of local populations. While STPs are primarily being led by the NHS, developing credible plans will require the NHS to work in partnership with social care, public health and other local government services, as well as third sector organisations and the local community. There has been limited time for public involvement in the plans so far, so leaders must ensure that local people are actively involved in the planning process as STPs develop.

The task of developing a plan may be challenging for some areas; making it happen will be altogether more difficult. Changes to incentives and performance management in the NHS may be needed to overcome the barriers that get in the way.

Read more here