At the Health Foundation we are mobilising support for the health and care system to help in as many ways as we can in the fight against COVID-19, with a flurry of new work taking place over the last few weeks. Here we share what has happened so far, and give you a heads up on future work we have planned. 

1.    Making donations to frontline organisations

We’ve already started to make a series of donations to charities working directly with the people most affected by the social and financial impacts of coronavirus and the current lockdown. This month, we hear from our Chief Executive Jennifer Dixon about the donations we’ve made so far, and from some of the recipient organisations about the challenges they are facing. 

2.    Using our data analytics expertise to support the UK’s response to COVID-19

Data can never solve a problem like COVID-19, but it can help in the fight to protect the most vulnerable. In this blog, Adam Steventon and Sarah Deeny from our Data Analytics team explain how the Health Foundation is mobilising existing programmes and partnerships to provide data and analysis that helps the UK respond to this pandemic. Collectively we are using data to understand the impact of COVID-19, particularly on vulnerable groups, supporting analysts to share and collaborate in the crisis period, and finding new ways to solve the deficit of data in social care. 

3.    Recording and tracking the government response to COVID-19

The Health Foundation has just launched an online COVID-19 policy tracker, providing an overview and timeline of national policy and health system responses to the pandemic in England. The resource is a rich source of information on what changes have been introduced, why, when, and by whom. It is designed to support real-time understanding of the fast-changing situation, as well as medium- and longer-term analyses, and comparisons with other countries. This tracker, which will be updated weekly, will help us assess and scrutinise government policy and identify lessons for the future. Explore the new COVID-19 policy tracker.

4.    Mobilising the sharing of learning from rapid improvement and innovation in the face of coronavirus

COVID-19 is creating unprecedented demands on the health system and prompting major changes in the scale, pace and focus of improvement efforts. Particularly through the work of the Q community, we will be supporting people to capture, review and learn from the rapid improvement and innovations driven by the pandemic. We’ll be collating and sharing learning from Q members and others, through online events, blogs and more. 

5.    Supporting the rapid roll-out of virtual consultations

Identified as a priority area early on due to the need for health and care organisations to practice social distancing wherever possible, we’ve been sharing learning and best practice around the introduction of virtual consultations. Last month’s newsletter focused on this, and since then, through the Q community, we have recruited 25 people who are implementing virtual consultations to take part in collectively capturing and sharing their learning and insight over the coming months. We are also planning a webinar with a focus on virtual consultations in an outpatients setting, date to be announced soon. This follows the popular webinar with Professor Trish Greenhalgh (which you can watch again here). 

6.    Scoping new grants to support staff health and wellbeing during the pandemic 

NHS and social care staff are facing huge challenges due to COVID-19 which will impact on their mental and physical health. The Health Foundation is planning future work to support staff health and wellbeing. We are currently scoping targeted grants to bolster existing or adapted work in this area, aiming to help the health and care services respond to the short- and long-term impacts of the outbreak on staff.

7.    A new COVID-19 chart series to help share important data about the pandemic

We’ll be producing regular infographics and charts to collate and translate important facts and statistics and help people understand what’s happening with COVID-19. Our Assistant Director of Policy, Ruth Thorlby, tells us more in this blog. The first chart in the series analyses the latest data from the Office of National Statistics, concluding that deaths from any cause in care homes have increased by 99% since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak

8.    Keeping the conversation going about the wider impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities

Sadly, we know that there are many groups in society who will be hit harder by coronavirus: not only older people and those with underlying health conditions, but those who are vulnerable simply because they do not have the same opportunities to stay well. In this feature, we collect thoughts from some of the members of our Collaboration for Wellbeing and Health on what we can do now to support those in need in these uncertain times. 

9.    Providing ongoing support to our existing grant and contract-holders

This guidance sets out the flexible approach we are taking within our existing funding and research programmes, in recognition that some projects and research studies may need to be rephased, paused or adapted. We are taking a case-by-case approach, working with partners to review timelines and payments in accordance with your needs.

Stay informed

For all the latest information and resources from the Health Foundation relating to COVID-19 and how we are supporting the UK’s health and care system during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit our Responding to COVID-19 page.

This content originally featured in our email newsletter, which explores perspectives and expert opinion on a different health or health care topic each month.

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