Coffee Break 87

In our first coffee break of 2020, our news updates this fortnight includes population health, improvement, integrated care systems, innovation and mental health.

Population Health

Firstly this year, we look at a recently published report by the Scottish Affairs Committee which calls for the decriminalization of small amounts of drugs for personal use and the introduction of safe drug consumption rooms. With drug related deaths in Scotland reaching an all-time high, the committee heard from agencies, health services, academics and other governments to produce one of the most expensive enquiries ever conducted into problem drug use in Scotland. The report concluded that a public health approach must inform Government policy and that policy must be evidence led.


This study published in BMC Health Services Research looks at the impact of organizational change on hospital staff in the early stages of a hospital redevelopment in Sydney. Staff were asked about their level of awareness of the upcoming redevelopment and their experiences. Some staff expressed apprehension and held negative expectations with concerns that included inadequate staffing and collaboration breakdown due to the new layout of the hospital. However, many staff reported positive expectations regarding the benefits to patients and the potential for staff to adapt in the face of this change. The report concluded that staff need to be engaged, informed, trained and fully supported by management and suggested the use of champions to promote a sense of engagement among staff.

Integrated Care Systems

A report by the Kings Fund, reflects on the views of 16 chairs and leads of both STPs and ICSs on the challenges involved in creating an ICS by asking seven key questions. These questions included what skills are needed to create an ICS? Does moving from an STP to an ICS help? What about relations with local government and others? How far can this go without legislation? So, what are the challenges that still lie ahead?


Moving on, an article in the Guardian reports on a new pre-treatment fitness programme, introduced by the NHS, aimed at reducing the side-effects of chemotherapy and the amount of time in hospital. The “pre-hab” regime includes high-intensity cardio workouts, strength-based training, nutritional advice and mental health support. More than 500 people in the Greater Manchester area are participating in the programme and similar services are being run in Yorkshire, Leicester and London.

Mental Health

Finally, this fortnight, a bakery in a mental health hospital in Beijing is the subject of a short video by the BBC, where 8 bakers with different mental health conditions come together to bake 3 times a week. By selling their goods they are able reconnect with the outside world, however some people are still wary of the bakers.