COVID-19 resources

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Better housing is crucial for our health and the COVID-19 recovery

The Health Foundation

This long read sets out the links between housing and health and explores the inequalities in housing across different groups and types of tenures. It then considers the impact of COVID-19 on housing so far, future risks and possible ways forward. Going into the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three households (32% or 7.6 million) in England had at least one major housing problem relating to overcrowding, affordability or poor-quality housing. Housing problems like these can affect health outcomes – including physical health directly from poor quality homes, and mental health from affordability or insecure housing. While fewer homes are classed as non-decent compared with 10 years ago, overcrowding and affordability problems have increased in recent years. The pandemic has highlighted the health implications of housing. Poor housing conditions such as overcrowding and high density are associated with greater spread of COVID-19, and people have had to spend more time in homes that are overcrowded, damp or unsafe. The economic fallout from the pandemic may lead to an increase in evictions. These housing problems have multiple causes: a focus on increasing supply to the detriment of other objectives; sustained reductions in housing benefits; and a private rented model which does not meet the needs of tenants. A combination of greater investment in social housing, more secure private tenancies, and reversing reductions in housing benefit support – such as the cuts to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – will be needed to improve the contribution of housing to health.

Last updated on hub: 11 January 2021

Beyond COVID: New thinking on the future of adult social care

Social Care Institute for Excellence

SCIE's position paper for commissioners and senior managers working in the health and social care sector sets out the findings of Beyond COVID: new thinking on the future of adult social care.

Last updated on hub: 03 September 2020

Beyond masks: societal impacts of COVID-19 and accelerated solutions for children and adolescents

United Nations Children's Emergency Fund

This review explores the societal impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on children, drawing on the existing literature – both of Covid-19 and other health crises – to guide child-sensitive responses. It also focuses on effective and feasible interventions, providing insight into the diverse domains of children’s lives that can be affected and which will require attention and action. The review covers: health and wellbeing; economy and equality; learning and human capital development; violence and conflict; family relationships; and social networks. It finds that there are evidence-based, low-cost, scalable interventions with demonstrated effectiveness in mitigating multiple challenges worsened by Covid-19. However, rapid innovation and evidence-building is needed to adapt evidence-based interventions to a Covid-19 context, including contexts of sustained poverty, weakened government capacity, social distancing/physical distancing and movement restrictions. Many of the interventions will explore the use of digital adaptation and efforts to reduce the digital divide, while infrastructure strengthening will be a prerequisite for much of the rapid response when virtual resources are utilised. The report argues that by identifying accelerator provisions – social protection, parenting support and psychosocial/mental health support, safe and quality education environment and others – it is possible to strategically aim to mitigate the negative consequences of Covid-19 on children and adolescents. The report sets out a six-point plan to protect children from the worst effects of the pandemic, calling on governments and partners to: ensure all children learn, including by closing the digital divide; guarantee access to primary health care and vaccination; support and protect the mental health of children and young people and bring an end to abuse, gender-based violence and neglect; increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene and address environmental degradation and climate change; reverse the rise in child poverty; and redouble efforts to protect and support children and their families living through conflict, disaster and displacement.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

Beyond the data: understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups

Public Health England

This report is a descriptive summary of stakeholder insights into the factors that may be influencing the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities and strategies for addressing inequalities. The review found that the highest age standardised diagnosis rates of COVID-19 per 100,000 population were in people of Black ethnic groups (486 in females and 649 in males) and the lowest were in people of White ethnic groups (220 in females and 224 in males). Death rates from COVID-19 were higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups. This is the opposite of what is seen in previous years, when the all-cause mortality rates are lower in Asian and Black ethnic groups. The report also summarises the main themes emerging from engagement with a broad range of stakeholders, which are: longstanding inequalities were exacerbated by COVID-19; people of Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups may have an increased risk of exposure to and acquisition of COVID-19 and are more likely to be diagnosed; BAME groups may have an increased risk of complications and death from COVID-19 due to underlying conditions; racism and discrimination experienced by communities and more specifically by BAME key workers may be a root cause affecting health, and exposure risk and disease progression risk.

Last updated on hub: 22 June 2020

Beyond the pandemic: strategic priorities for responding to childhood trauma: a coronavirus pandemic policy briefing

UK Trauma Council

This policy briefing focuses on the psychological consequences of trauma experienced by children – including younger children such as infants – as well as older adolescents. The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on children and young people’s lives. The report identifies three ways in which the pandemic is impacting on the experience of childhood trauma: it increases the risk that more children will be exposed to trauma, including through sudden bereavement or exposure to domestic violence; it increases the likelihood that those with prior experiences of trauma (for example, because of abuse) will experience significant difficulties; and it compromises the ability of adults and professional systems to identify a struggling child and mitigate the impact of trauma, including mental health problems. The report puts forward four recommendations as a framework for action, to be taken forward in different ways across the UK. These are: prioritise responding to trauma in national and local strategies; invest in specialist trauma provision for children and young people; equip all professionals who work with children and young people with the skills and capacity to support those who have experienced trauma; and shift models of help towards prevention, through research, clinical innovation and training.

Last updated on hub: 24 September 2020

Briefing note on addressing mental health and psychosocial aspects of COVID-19

Inter-Agency Standing Committee

This briefing note summarises key supports to promote psychosocial well-being and/or prevent or treat mental health conditions in relation to the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It identifies people's common responses to COVID-19; outlines the overarching principles of a mental health and psychosocial support response; lists key activities that should be implemented as part of the response to COVID-19; and identifies interventions to help specific groups who might experience barriers to accessing information, care and support or be at higher risk of infection. These include interventions to help older adults cope with stress and support people with disabilities and their carers to access care and information, activities for helping children deal with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak, activities for adults in isolation or quarantine; and interventions to support frontline workers and managers working in the COVID-19 response.

Last updated on hub: 23 March 2020

Briefing on COVID-19 guidance for social care assessments and the ethical framework

Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)

This briefing provides insight and recommendations on how to better respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of disabled people, people who live with long term conditions and unpaid carers in relation to social care assessment and the provision of care during COVID-19. It argues that taking a human rights based approach can help difficult decision-making when there are tensions between risks and rights or between demand and available resources, calling for greater detail on equalities and explicit reference to human rights law in both UK and Scottish government guidance relating to the pandemic and local plans. The briefing makes a number of recommendations, including: monitoring the use of powers to relax social care assessments and engaging with people who access services during the pandemic and lockdown; greater clarity when social care packages are being reduced and removed; that individualised support for unpaid carers is made available; that charges for people who use social care (including collection of arrears and debt for previous care charges) should be suspended; that actions should be taken to mitigate the risks of associated with remote social care assessments. The briefing finally recommends regular, ongoing contact with social work professionals and others capable of carrying out partial assessments, using the communication methods that work best for the individual.

Last updated on hub: 18 June 2020

Briefing on individuals with NRPF who are experiencing, or are at risk of, homelessness and destitution during the COVID-19 pandemic

Project 17

Considers the implications of the COVID-19 crisis for individuals who are unable to access social housing or most welfare benefits due to their ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) immigration status. Without the safety net of social security, these individuals are at high risk of homelessness, destitution and exploitation, and are therefore particularly vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. The paper focuses in particular on education, social care, domestic abuse and health. It provides brief outlines of the issues with the current provision of services in each area and the impact that the lack of access to support has on families with NRPF. The paper sets out suggested questions to help local authorities and the government to reflect on their current practices, their responses to the pandemic and how they support individuals with NRPF status, and future plans.

Last updated on hub: 13 July 2020

Briefing on protecting vulnerable people during the COVID-19 outbreak: report

Local Government Association

This briefing offers information to help councils to support and protect people who are vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. It includes information supporting those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 and work that is taking place, led largely by councils and the voluntary and community sector (VCS), to protect other vulnerable groups. These include people facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, those already accessing care and support services, homeless people and rough sleepers, and those experiencing a reduction in usual services. Sections cover: an overview of the system for supporting vulnerable people; identifying vulnerable groups; types of support needs, such as housing and accommodation, food, medicine and mental wellbeing; and key considerations for councils in coordinating local support. The briefing will also help the NHS, community and voluntary sector and other partner agencies to understand the role of local government in supporting vulnerable people. It will be updated as and when necessary to keep up with the changing situation.

Last updated on hub: 09 April 2020

Briefing: improving the nation’s health: the future of the public health system in England

The Health Foundation

In light of the impact of the pandemic and the government’s decision to abolish Public Health England (PHE), this briefing explores what needs to be put in place to make progress on the government’s commitments to improve the nation’s health. It begins by looking at the role government can play in improving the nation’s health before examining how England might transition to a new public health system and what the main priorities for any new system should be. The paper argues that the new system needs the right strategy, structures and resources: the strategy for creating an effective new public health system should include a cross-government commitment to level up health outcomes and enable people to live longer in good health; the structures needed include an independent body to report to parliament on the nation’s health, a national function supporting the public health system, and strengthened local and regional infrastructure; the resources needed include, as a minimum, £1bn to restore public health funding to its 2015 levels and a further £2.5bn needed to level up public health across the country. Government should also commit to ensuring that public health funding keeps pace NHS with funding increases in future. The transition to a new public health system needs to be managed carefully, to ensure that the reorganisation does not disrupt the pandemic response or lead to a weaker system in future.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020