Myalgic encephalomyelitis / Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)

Launched this week, NHS England’s ‘ground-breaking’ online COVID-19 rehab service could be critical to averting a rise in ME/CFS cases. But questions of equitable access remain.

Data from the COVID Symptom Study suggest that while most people recover from COVID-19 within two weeks, one in ten people may still have symptoms after three weeks, and some may suffer for months.  Reports submitted to the ME Association (MEA) likewise suggest that a significant number of previously healthy people who have had (or probably had) coronavirus infection have not returned to their normal health and energy levels in the weeks and months following the onset of symptoms.

A very wide range of people may experience ongoing health problems following Covid 19. According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, this includes people left with prolonged fatigue, scarring on their lungs, significant muscle deconditioning and loss of strength; also anxiety and depression, or psychological trauma; and of course people with pre-existing long term conditions, who may be more severely affected and whose rehabilitation needs will be more complex.[1]

Researchers don’t yet know how long someone can experience ongoing Covid 19 infection (and remain infectious). Symptoms may be the result of an ongoing infection or some kind of damage that persists after their immune system has cleared the virus, according to the Covid Symptom Study.

If people experience continuing fatigue, a diagnosis of post viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) – where symptoms last six months or more – may be appropriate.

Research after all suggests plausible links between viral infection and ME/CFS. This is not to imply chronic viral infection, but rather initial viral infection potentially acting as a trigger of ME/CFS and causing immune abnormalities. If the scenario plays out in the case of Covid 19, we may see a spike in cases of ME/CFS, with implications not just for months but years ahead.

Diagnosing PVFS or ME/CFS following coronavirus infection will not be straightforward. ME/CFS is characterised not just by post-exertional malaise and cognitive difficulties, but also the kind of flu-like symptoms that characterise Covid 19, such as sore throat, cough, headache, diarrhoea, sickness, and muscle and body aches.

According to the ME Association (MEA), patient evidence indicates that good initial management of post-infection fatigue lessens the chances of this turning into an ME/CFS-like illness.

The announcement this week by NHS England of aground breaking’ online COVID-19 rehab service is therefore welcome news. Whether it will be actually ‘ground-breaking’ is another matter, bearing in mind problems that beset the UK’s ‘world-class’ NHS coronavirus tracing app, which are still very fresh in the public’s mind. 

This new rehab service, however, follows a telehealth model that is largely tried and tested. Launching later this month, it will be available to patients who have been in hospital or suffered at home with the virus, and will provide face-to-face consultation with a local rehabilitation team, typically comprising physiotherapists, nurses and mental health specialists.

According to NHS England’s announcement, the on-demand service will include:

  • Access to a local clinical team including nurses and physiotherapists who can respond either online or over the phone to any enquiries from patients;
  • An online peer-support community for survivors – particularly helpful for those who may be recovering at home alone;
  • Exercise tutorials that people can do from home to help them regain muscle strength and lung function in particular; and
  • Mental health support, which may include a psychologist within the online hub or referral into NHS mental health services along with information on what to expect post-COVID.

A second phase of the service will enable people to access personalised support packages. This is in development by experts based in Leicester and will be made available later in the summer.

Unanswered questions

Alerting people to this service will be of course critical to its success, especially as measured by far reaching, equitable access.  The detail on how the NHS will notify and signpost people is not clear.

Will hospital records and the NHS Test and Trace database be used to alert those already known to services via text or email?

And how does the NHS plan to reach untested individuals who may have had coronavirus and are experiencing ongoing health problems? There is also the matter of reaching people who do not have capacity to respond to notifications.

It will be essential that this service has wide availability of specialists in post-viral fatigue to guide patients in the careful management of symptoms and avoidance of exacerbations. Such specialists may be critical to limiting patients’ possible escalation to full-blown ME/CFS.  

The pressure on Covid 19 survivors with ongoing health problems to return to work may be significant, so it is also vital that individuals have simple access to ‘fit notes’.

Is an NHS 111 online service for fit notes in preparation, and if so, when is it due to launch? 

The UK government needs to make very clear to employers the seriousness of post-viral fatigue. Employers need to be patient with, and supportive of, the rehabilitation process. Returning to work – even working from home – before sufficient recovery may result in symptom exacerbations and worsening of both physical and mental health.

A gradual return to work with regular review of symptoms and progress would be advisable to establish a safe baseline of physical and mental activity that does not exacerbate symptoms.

How is the government reaching employers (especially SMEs) with information and advice on supporting Covid 19 rehabilitation? 

We look forward to answers to these questions. Meanwhile, the following resources on post-viral fatigue management have been made available for clinicians, patients and carers:

British Association for CFS/ME (BACME)

Post-Viral Fatigue: A Guide to Management

Royal College of Occupational Therapists

‘Practical advice for people who have been treated in hospital’

‘Practical advice for people who have recovered at home’

‘Practical advice for people during and after having COVID-19’

The ME Association

PVF and PVFS Following Coronavirus Infection

Some NHS information for patient and carers has been published regionally, for example see here.

[1] Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), 2020.  Rehabilitation during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. A CSP Policy Statement.

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Teachers’ lives matter

Teachers’ needs should be met first – and before all students return.

8 min read

Existential turbulence is all around. It can feel negligent to highlight just one sector or subject. Opening schools is towards the top of the conundrum list for many and captures other immediate challenges in its wake. Education is the third largest public sector employer in the UK, so it is puzzling that a critical ‘detail’ is currently being overlooked if we are to make sustainable progress: Teachers’ wellbeing.

From early on in the pandemic, public and employers’ empathy for the wellbeing of healthcare staff at the front line in the UK was evident. At a visit to a large teaching hospital around Easter, I saw notices reminding staff to visit the recently established wellbeing hub in their mandated break for free drinks, food, massage or mindfulness sessions. My anaesthetist neighbour has worked alternate weeks as the hospital has sought to manage staff exposure to Covid-19 and prevent burnout. The public and charity sector provision for clinicians with mental wellbeing issues in England has been boosted and promoted.

Considering the impact of trauma on staff in education was being flagged before Coronavirus shattered any notion of these Islands returning to seas of pre-Brexit calm. An essay was published in the Harvard Educational Review (HER) in November 2019 introducing the concept of ‘Trauma Literacy’ (Lawson, Caringi, Gottfried, Bride, & Hydon, 2019). Trauma Literacy is basically the training in relevant knowledge that enables ‘self-care, facilitates and safeguards interactions with trauma-impacted students and colleagues, and paves the way for expanded school improvement model’. The article came into view because of my ongoing research interest into the neglected landscape of senior Secondary School teachers’ stress management and support. Lawson et al.’s paper was asking in 2019 what it thought was an already timely question: Who helps the helpers? ‘Timely’ does not do their prescience justice.

Thus inevitably in the past few months I have been considering the implications of Covid-19 for teachers, who already demonstrate some of the highest prevalence of burnout compared with other professional groups. This pandemic has forced significant and demanding adjustments on teachers as they reoriented to working from home: achieving technological prowess, accomplishing teaching online, navigating hasty changes to rostering, managing their domestic caring responsibilities and sometimes own infection, making hundreds of phone calls to children and parents, processing social media skirmishes and dealing with rising reports of mental illness and domestic violence amongst their pupils.

Health professionals have to date borne the brunt of the coronavirus trauma. But as we seek to reinstate onsite schooling it is essential that we provide for the needs of education sector professionals who are now expected to care, in different ways, for the traumatised, having been through a significant ordeal themselves.

The announcement on schools opening was immediately engulfed in frantic discourse centred around material practicalities, second wave infections and bubbles. Some misgivings were expressed about the psychological implications on children of enforcing social distancing, banning toys and preventing traditional play and interaction. All understandable, but where were the voices of reason around equipping teachers psychologically first? It is not as if other nations hadn’t already heard the concerns of teachers. There are well known knowns to rationalise this prioritisation. We know there is a correlation between staff wellbeing and academic achievement (Briner & Dewberry, 2007; Mclean & Connor, 2015), that educators are deeply impacted by the trauma experiences of their students (Caringi et al., 2015) and that traumatic experiences have a contagious nature to them (Motta, 2012). Despite academic and policy acknowledgement of the essentiality of teacher wellbeing support, dating back over a decade (Day & Gu, 2009; Farmer & Stevenson, 2017; Gray, Wilcox, & Nordstokke, 2017; Greenberg, Brown, & Abenavoli, 2016; Kidger et al., 2016) widespread conversion to frontline provision is largely still pending.

Lawson et al.’s call for trauma informed pedagogy posits a ‘dual agenda’ for meeting both children and teachers’ psychological needs. While incredibly relevant for today, their glaring omission seems to be presupposing teachers’ Mental Health Literacy (Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2020) and wellbeing support are both already in place, and that this can be built on. We know this is not the case in the majority of schools in England, and I suspect not in the USA either. The proposed Teacher Wellbeing Charter in the Expert Advisory Group report in March of this year has only just been accepted as an optional recommendation by England’s School’s Minister. But the pandemic offers a unique chance to normalise both proactive wellbeing support and the experience of workplace stress, something that many say can still rarely be admitted in school without fear of stigma (Manning, Blandford, Edbrooke-Childs, & Marshall, 2020).

Lawson’s paper highlights the short and long-term effects of trauma on children’s mental health. The knock-on adverse effects on their peers and adults in school can cause secondary traumatic stress (STS), a concept similar to compassion fatigue, that has been explored before amongst paediatric healthcare providers (Meadors, Lamson, Swanson, White, & Sira, 2010). STS is where a trauma is experienced indirectly by hearing about or knowing about the traumatic event (Figley 1995). “Every professional educator and school employee who interacts with and tries to help traumatized young people is vulnerable,” according to Lawson. Yet in our current situation STS is a compounding threat to school staff who have already, to varying degrees, experienced the primary shock and ordeal of the pandemic. Additionally, mental health leaders in the UK are already warning that psychological provision, whilst it has been extended, simply won’t be enough, particularly in the light of increased financial hardship.

Thus, already emotionally depleted, and with no established systemic psychological or wellbeing support, teachers are currently expected to go back into segregated classrooms and teach traumatised children – exposing staff to STS. And in case you hadn’t noticed, everyone is exhausted!

Education leaders have an opportunity. School opening is currently a request, limited and in some places being rescinded. School leadership can rescue an unparalleled opportunity from the wreckage of coronavirus in the weeks ahead to spend time with their greatest asset – and in many corporate businesses, the first priority – their staff. Exploring teachers’ experiences, listening to their needs, considering the school culture and climate means that ‘Whole School Wellbeing’ – where the entire school community thrives – could start to become strategic, coordinated and embedded. The excellent Education Support Partnership (ESP) has already produced some videos for teachers and school leaders to understand some situations and symptoms that coronavirus has triggered which are a great starting point. Other resources are promised by government, which has also now responded to the Expert Advisory Group’s recommendations on Teacher Wellbeing whilst recognising that it will be a long-term collaborative process to implement them. Meanwhile, I still don’t know of an existing comprehensive Whole School Wellbeing model, but 2020health’s exploration of a ‘Head of Wellbeing’ concept back in 2014 is available online, and other great resources include Mentally Health Schools, TeachWellAlliance, IPEN and hot-off-the-press Putting Staff First.

Policy leaders can learn from healthcare, where UK government support has led to the fully funded NHS Practitioner Health, and the US National Academy of Medicine hosts the Clinician Wellbeing Collaborative, the latter’s longer-term agenda being one of identifying and sharing of good practice and comprehensively reviewing systemic demands that fuel burnout.

Schools are now being expected to deliver literacy in life; this cannot and should not be done without providing for teachers’ lives first.

Briner, R., & Dewberry, C. (2007). Staff wellbeing is key to school success.

Caringi, J. C., Stanick, C., Trautman, A., Crosby, L., Devlin, M., & Adams, S. (2015). Secondary traumatic stress in public school teachers: contributing and mitigating factors. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 8(4), 244–256.

Day, C., & Gu, Q. (2009). Teacher Emotions : Well Being and Effectiveness.

Farmer, P., & Stevenson, D. (2017). Thriving at work. Retrieved from

Gray, C., Wilcox, G., & Nordstokke, D. (2017). Teacher Mental Health, School Climate, Inclusive Education and Student Learning: A Review. Canadian Psychology, 58(3), 203–210.

Greenberg, M., Brown, J., & Abenavoli, R. (2016). Teacher Stress and Health Effects on Teachers, Students and Schools.

Kidger, J., Stone, T., Tilling, K., Brockman, R., Campbell, R., Ford, T., … Gunnell, D. (2016). A pilot cluster randomised controlled trial of a support and training intervention to improve the mental health of secondary school teachers and students – the WISE (Wellbeing in Secondary Education) study. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 1060.

Lawson, H. A., Caringi, J. C., Gottfried, R., Bride, B. E., & Hydon, S. P. (2019). Need for Trauma Literacy. Harvard Educational Review, 89(3), 421–448.

Luthar, S. S., Kumar, N. L., & Zillmer, N. (2020). International Journal of School & Educational Psychology Teachers’ responsibilities for students’ mental health:Challenges in high achieving schools.

Manning, J. B., Blandford, A., Edbrooke-Childs, J., & Marshall, P. (2020). How contextual constraints shape mid-career high school teachers’ stress management and use of digital support tools: A qualitative study. JMIR Mental Health, 7(4).

Mclean, L., & Connor, C. M. (2015). Depressive Symptoms in Third-Grade Teachers: Relations to Classroom Quality and Student Achievement. Child Development, 86(3), 945–954.

Meadors, P., Lamson, A., Swanson, M., White, M., & Sira, N. (2010). Secondary traumatization in pediatric healthcare providers: Compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 60(2), 103–128.

Motta, R. W. (2012). Secondary Trauma in Children and School Personnel. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 28(3), 256–269.

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#AI – Diagnosis on demand – and disappointment

Thursday evening’s Horizon, subtitled ‘The Computer will see you now’ is the latest in a lengthening line of programmes and books that purport to critique today’s medical zeitgeist: Artificial Intelligence in healthcare. It was entertaining. I understand. Who would have watched a programme called ‘Using statistics on huge datasets might one day help with diagnosing illness’? And to be clear about my stance – I am a Tech Believer! I first used Babylon in March 2015. (Ok, it missed my appendicitis, but then so did the colorectal surgeon I spoke to. Online forums gave me all the insight needed, so I picked up my overnight bag, went to A&E, home after 24 hours minus my appendix. All’s well.) Vision testing software transformed my home-visiting optometry practice back in 2004; 2020health’s team have produced many reports on the potential of digital health and Dan’s story during Horizon was a perfect example of tele-consulting a GP, with the double win of Dan’s reassurance and NHS saving money. I think Ali Parsa of Babylon is a genius and I am really excited about the possibilities with digital health interventions.

Yet I found myself from the start of Horizon scribbling notes and snapping at the screen, including right at the start when the initial framing was evil private tech industry and profits, versus good old, familiar, fax-dependent, public NHS. Sprinkled throughout were Halloween appropriate claims of computers ‘thinking’ and ‘understanding’ and ‘beating’. I kept wondering when we were going to get to the nub, stated at the beginning, of asking ‘Not what could but what should we be using #AI for in health‘?

This programme had the opportunity to demystify, question and critique: what do AI, machine learning, algorithms really mean? What is the difference between symptom checking, guidance, recommendations, diagnosis and treatment, and why CAN’T chatbots diagnose (cue MHRA)? Why is digital health, in the view of leading experts such as Prof Ann Blandford*, currently like the ‘Wild West’? Why didn’t politicians think through the disruption to GP funding and potential destabilisation of services, and mitigate it before launching GPatHand? What are the government’s plans now, both on GP financial flows and public understanding? What do Rwandans think of their government describing them as ‘a laboratory to try things out’? How do we build trust and confidence – the impressive Kheiron seems to have done it? Is Deep Learning an either-or?, or a both-and? And as Dr Liz O’Riordan asked (I paraphrase) ‘Is this what patients want’? And yes, we could have still had the central Babylon narrative of man versus machine, but I’d have added questions on why they seem to employ so few women, and why call it Babylon – it didn’t work out so well the first time!

Other much smarter folk have already critiqued the Babylon research findings  but what would have been really interesting would have been having answers to Ali Parsa’s correct assertion that RCT’s are not fit for purpose in digital health. We all know they are not, allowing no provision for iteration and qualitative insight. So what shall we do to progress tech but keep it safe? IMHO, this programme was a real missed opportunity. There were some stellar participants, the producers could have provided infotainment AND detailed the global demographic challenge AND burst the hyperbole bubble on battles of the consciousness AND asked how the NHS monetises its enormously valuable databanks. But it didn’t. There’s an opportunity there…

*(Disclaimer – I am a student in the same UCLIC department – but my bias is evidence based!)

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Tackling obesity – What the UK can learn from other countries

This week 2020health is producing its third report on obesity: Tackling obesity – What the UK can learn from other countries. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults and children has never been higher in the UK, so what the country has spent and implemented to date is clearly not enough.

What we know 

In our first report on obesity, Careless Eating Costs Lives (2014), we made 17 recommendations that required at least as many agencies, local and national government departments, national health and clinical institutions to be involved in the delivery of a cross-cutting strategy. Our second report Fat Chance? in 2016 looked at the evidence for who becomes, and is most likely to become, obese. One revelation in the socio-economic context was that both upwardly and downwardly mobile groups are correlated with higher rates of obesity than the stable rich or middle classes, while upwardly mobile groups have the same obesity rates as the stable poor; uncertainty seems to be a significant factor for weight gain.

Where we are

In 2017 we began a review of countries we had researched four years previously to discover where they had got to with their obesity programmes. We case-studied policies implemented at the country, region, city and town level to inform a discussion on potential insights and transferable learning for the UK.

Key findings in our latest report Tackling obesity – What the UK can learn from other countries include:

  • National Interventions – Top level leadership needs to convey the importance of obesity prevention through stronger accountability structures, intelligent taxation, and mandatory school-based education on health and wellbeing
  • Regional Interventions – Coordinated, cross-sector local programming is essential across multiple environments, with consideration of public-private partnerships
  • City/town Interventions – A detailed understanding of the social determinants of obesity within the locality are vital to the implementation of relevant and targeted initiatives
  • 0-12 years – Multi-stakeholder, community-based programmes for school-aged children (across multiple environments) are more effective than school-based programmes; interventions need to consider improving access to drinking water in schools, public (parent) health literacy and the built environment

Obstacles to progress included a lack of evaluation of obesity programmes, preventing shared learning and buy-in; the widening price gap between junk food and healthier options; and obesity prevention with a school-only focus, which often shows no effect in the long term, leading to stakeholder discouragement and possible disinclination to pursue further strategies.

What we can do next

Strong and mandated central policy, supporting bold, holistic local action, is needed to impact what is arguably the greatest health challenge of the 21st century. The UK government has rightly placed principal focus on children, but a health-in-all-policies approach has yet to be realised.

In the light of our three reports we therefore urge the government:

  • to help finance Local Authority pilots of EPODE (‘Ensemble Prévenons l’ObésitéDes Enfants’: EPODE, Together Let’s Prevent Childhood Obesity), or similar community-based programming, in a range of communities around the UK, supported by robust academic evaluation to enable learning and effective dissemination
  • to support healthier food choices among the poorest families by extending the healthy start voucher scheme
  • to introduce a compulsory Ofsted rating scheme of school policy and action on physical and mental health – in both primary and secondary schools
  • to ‘obesity check’ all new policies to spot potential unintended consequences

While local, whole-systems approaches to obesity need to be explored (as being trialled in the London Borough of Lewisham), children require special focus. If the UK fails to implement joined-up, multi-sectoral obesity prevention strategies for children and their families across a range of local contexts, it has little hope in ever reversing the obesity epidemic among the wider population.

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Managing Mental Well-being in the Workplace: Can Health Tech Help? #2: Awareness

This is the second in our series of articles on Mental Health Wellbeing in the Workplace, following on from the AXA Health Tech & You Round-Table discussion hosted by 2020health in January.  Our first article highlighted some of the headline figures of the AXA HTY digital health ‘State of the Nation’ survey by YouGov.

This second picks up on one the key themes that emerged from the Round-Table discussion; changing attitudes and increasing awareness across our society about the prevalence of mental distress and its effect on peoples’ lives; and about the importance of mental wellbeing and early intervention and prevention.  Reflecting on the many changes over my working life; starting in the City as a trainee accountant, when computers were the size of a room and lowly auditors worked with Tipp-Ex and calculators; I recalled some lines of poetry by T.S. Elliot, about the despairing death-like crowd flowing over London Bridge in a foggy winter dawn, as I commuted into work each morning and grappled with the strangeness and challenge of this new grown up working life. A bit melodramatic, but I was an idealistic English Literature Graduate, adapting to corporate life in a traditional, stiff upper lip environment, where admitting to stress was not an option!

Thankfully, things have moved on and there is greater awareness of the incidence of mental illness in our society, and an acknowledgement that it needs to be addressed, just as much as physical illness. Alongside the mental health charities, including MIND who were represented on our Roundtable panel; public figures such as the younger members of Royal Family, are raising the public profile and seeking to eliminate stigma around mental health with their Heads Together Charity.

OneInFour (2)

The current received wisdom is that ‘at any one time’ , “around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem”.  Drawing on the results of the AXA HTY YouGov poll, Round-Table chair Julia Manning observed, it is more likely that “we’re getting on for half the population who have experienced some sort of mental health distress” at some point in their lives.  Significantly, this is being reflected in government health policy and corporate HR policies; highlighted by the recent government commissioned Farmer Stevenson Report, Thriving At Work . A key recommendation being that, “all employers, regardless of size or industry, should adopt 6 ‘mental health core standards’ that lay basic foundations for an approach to workplace mental health”. Eve Critchley of MIND shared their experience of implementing the Work Place Wellbeing Index as the benchmark, “we’re taking this seriously and we’re willing to share some of our results, and data as well, so we can benchmark how we’re doing and set a target for improvement”.

Alongside the anguish of mental illness for sufferers and their families, the Roundtable reflected on societal and commercial impacts of mental illness on this scale. The YouGov survey showed that of the 41% respondents taking days off work as a result of mental illness, 18% took 21 days or more. The Thriving At Work report suggests that untreated mental health costs employers between £33 billion and £42 billion each year. The commercial good sense of supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace was underlined by reflections from panellist, Chris Tomkins . He shared analysis by Professor Alex Edmunds, of companies with wellbeing programmes, and those without , showing that companies with wellbeing programmes grew, on average, between 2.3% and 3.8% faster than those without. As Chris reflected, “Certainly, any large corporate’s going to be impressed by 4% growth. That’s a major impact”.

Kathy Mason, March 2018

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An edited version of this article was published by The Huffington Post on 23/02/2018

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Managing Mental Well-being in the Workplace: Can Health Tech Help? #1

AXA Health Tech and You 2018 is a series of events, competitions and awards for digital health innovation, now in it’s fourth year.

Each year AXA HTY have run a digital health ‘State of the Nation’ survey with YouGov to discover the latest public opinion on digital health. This year the questions included some specifics on mental health in the workplace, and the findings were discussed at a Round-Table discussion hosted by 2020health and held at Runway East.

In the first of several blogs on the subject, here are some of the findings of the survey.Vessi Ves

  1. About a third of people willing to buy and wear a device that would be an ‘early warning’ system’ for decline in mental health, though over 55s were less likely at 24%. This rises to just over 50% doing so if the employer supplies it, though youngest (18-24s) were most keen at 73%.

[Interestingly very similar figures to question on general health tracker in 2017 AXA HTY Year 3 survey, apart from willingness to engage was higher for general health where employer provided device at 63%.]

It’s possible that this shows lack of value in illness prevention, shown by increase in willingness to monitor if individual not having to pay. Half of population not yet willing to engage (for whatever reason).

Vessi Ves


  1. If given the option given of wearing a device, still only about half of respondents were willing to wear it, and less so if they had to pay for it.Vessi Ves
  2. In terms of sharing information if someone was prepared to wear a device, across the age groups half of respondents were happy to share data.

[Slightly less than general health tracker in AXA HTY Year 3 survey].

  1. Of those who did not want to share data, the fears were around discrimination, privacy and trust. Sharing of information with third parties was a particular concern of older workers, whilst not wanting the employer to know about their lifestyle was the biggest concern of  78% of 18-24 year olds!
  2. Interestingly, if the data was anonymized, whilst younger people were more likely to share data (76%), those in older age-groups were slightly less likely to share anonymized data. This could imply that even if anonymized data shared, older workers think it wouldn’t make a difference, or could take too long to see the benefits in the workplace, or personally, from data collection? Vessi Ves
  3. Where a financial incentive was given to wear a tracker, just over half said they would be more likely to wear one. Given that just over half would wear one anyway if the employer supplied it, there was no real difference between the employer supply of a tracker and the employer incentivizing wearing of a tracker.
  4. The figure we are given generally is that one in four people at any one time can be experiencing mental illness. Those questioned revealed that about half (41% and we’ve included don’t knows and no comments) the working population have experienced mental illness at some point (and had had time off work), and nearly half of these had NOT shared tVessi Vesheir symptoms with their employer.
  5. However, what was really encouraging was that of those who had spoken to their employer about their illness, nearly three-quarters had had a helpful, supportive response, although 42% (nearly half) of 18-24 year olds said they hadn’t been supported.
  6. Of those who had taken time off, 18% had taken more than 21 days (none of these were under 24)Vessi Ves


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Fabulous Night at the Museum!

Finalists and judges joined AXA PPP Healthcare and 2020Health at the Design Museum last night to celebrate innovation and present their joint 3rd Annual Health Tech and You Awards. Congratulations to all the winners and to all the finalists. Thank you to everyone who entered and made it possible.

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HT&Y The WOW! Award Shortlist: Mable Care


MABLE is a personalised Care Management System for older adults and their family to improve their Quality of Life: monitoring loneliness depression anxiety and safety.

MABLE offers communication technology understanding the language used to build positive relationships. Ideal in extending independent living for those with early stages of Dementia. Carers number more than 6.5 million in the UK. Dementia is one of the costliest health conditions to the national economy providing formal and informal care is estimated at 26.3 Billion per annum.

MABLE Care is a mobile App (phone tablet and smart watch) that monitors ambient observations (text speech video and eye tracking). Natural Language Processing using Machine Learning algorithms indicates emotional behavioural and cognitive trends. Personalised feedback helps carers to engage positively communicate regularly and reduce isolation.


Judges Comments:

“A positive way of communicating with family members who may be elderly and improving their lives through independent living”

“Can reduce stress and anxiety of the users making living alone simple, but they have a communication stream when needed”

“Adaptable by learning the user’s traits makes the technology more personable”

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HT&Y The WOW! Award Shortlist: Inspair


Inspair a compact add-on turning traditional inhalers into smart medical devices. People living with respiratory disease have been using inhalers for decades. Unfortunately inhalers misuse is far too common (86%). As a result asthma control was suboptimal in 56.5 % of patients and it was associated with poorer asthma-related quality of life higher risk of exacerbations and greater consumption of healthcare resources.

To overcome these challenges Biocorp designed Inspair – a smart solution collecting data related to treatment adherence and inhalation techniques. In addition to reconnect patients and doctors Inspair functionalities fosters better self-care therapy. Inspair consists of a smart sensor that can be attached to any pMDI. Connected with a dedicated mobile app via Bluetooth the smart solution embeds an inhalation tracking system an active feedback system as well as digital features allowing treatment monitoring.


Judges Comments:

“Universal in shape meaning it can be used on all types on inhaler and can be used multiple times”

“The idea behind being able to help people in using an inhaler correctly is a great idea as those who may not always need an inhaler are not sure how to put it to the right use”

“Currently in the process of making this item it has a bright future”

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HT&Y The WOW! Award Shortlist: HealthUnlocked


HealthUnlocked is a social network with over 500 health and wellbeing online communities/forums on different conditions. Millions of people come to it each month to compare experiences and get support from other people who have the same health condition as them.

It provides life changing support increases patient activation and transforms experiences of health conditions alongside contributing to improving health outcomes for many people. Free to use and in the top three health websites in the UK people increasingly turn to the platform as an alternative to traditional care. User statistics (2016): 18% use clinical services less 37% have better interactions with doctor or other health professionals 50% feel more confident managing their condition on a day to day basis 54% have recommended HealthUnlocked to others


Judges Comments:

“Social Media networks for specific health conditions are now getting more popular and easy to be able to download, HealthUnlocked however looks into all medical conditions possible with the opportunity to share experiences as users”

“Highly rated by users due to ranking of all health websites available in the UK”

“A growing medium for those seeking health advice without needing to go to GPs”

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