News in Brief – Dating apps to promote vaccines, Manchester hospital rebuild, new midwifery team

In a week where we reported on body cameras being delivered to ambulance staff and covered the appointment of the new managing director for University Hospitals Sussex NHS FT, we’ve still got more healthcare news to bring you.

Make sure you are signed up for our Leading Healthcare Forward Awards – we’re still accepting entries and the deadline is just two weeks away!  

Meanwhile, here’s what else has been hitting the headlines…

Dating apps used to combat vaccine hesitancy

The government has announced that a new partnership with dating apps will be used to combat COVID-19 vaccine ‘hesitancy’. The apps Tinder, Match, Hinge, Bumble, Badoo, Plenty of Fish, OurTime and Muzmatch will offer users special badges, bonuses and profile stickers to users if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.  

The government’s “every vaccination gives us hope campaign” will see adverts displayed on the app, encouraging people to book their vaccine appointment. 

Examples of the campaign include members being able to add a variety of stickers to their profile including “I’m Vaccinated” or “Vaccines Save Lives,” with Tinder giving those who support the campaign a free “Super Like” to help them stand out among potential matches. Tinder will also launch a “Vaccine Center” with a suite of resources to educate and connect members with their nearest vaccination site. 

Online Dating Association (ODA) Chief Executive, George Kidd, said: “The ODA were delighted to play its part in getting the message out on vaccinations. Dating apps and services are the start point for about a third of all new relationships.”

“When meeting in person was not possible, services were an important way of meeting others online, with the hope of meeting up later when safe to do so. About 10 million people in the UK use or have used dating apps and services. Our members account for most of this user base. We shared campaign video or advertising on apps, landing pages and through social media channels. For us, every step to a return to people meeting up, making new friends, and starting new relationships is a step forward for us all.” 

Bradford’s anaesthetists honoured

Anaesthetists from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have received the Anesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation from the Royal College of Anaesthetists. To win the award, exacting standards of safety criteria must be met.  

The award recognises outstanding standards in patient experience, patient safety and clinical leadership. The trust’s anaesthetists work across maternity, the emergency department, radiology and cardiology, as well as emergency departments, theatres and intensive care.  

The award is held by less than 25% of hospitals across the UK, and the accreditation is reviewed on a yearly basis with the trust providing evidence to the Royal College of Anaesthetists, to maintain the accreditation.  

Consultant Anaesthetist and accreditation lead, Dr Maria Garside, who is based at Bradford Royal Infirmary, said: “We are absolutely delighted and incredibly proud to see Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ name included on the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ website as one of their accredited trusts. 

 “Less than 25 per cent of all the 172 anaesthetic departments across UK hospitals have secured this award and it demonstrates the very high standards our anaesthesia service places on quality and safety. 

 “We had to meet a mammoth 140+ standards and it’s taken us just over two years to achieve this accreditation – as the project’s completion was delayed due to the pandemic – but it’s a day to celebrate as colleagues strive to provide outstanding care to the people of Bradford.” 

NHS Property Services offer digital skills lessons

NHS Property Services has collaborated with Hillside Clubhouse, an Islington based mental health rehabilitation project, to offer tutorials on basic digital skills. Hillside Clubhouse focuses on employment, education, and social inclusion.  

Volunteers from NHS Property Services will match up with residents from Hillside Clubhouse, to form 1:1 digital buddy partnership, 3 x 1 hour support sessions, and will be used to help those feel more confident on smartphones and tablets. The sessions will take place remotely, but plans are in place for face-to-face meetings in future.  

The partnership is part of wider collaboration with Hillside Clubhouse that has seen NHS Property services offer loaned laptops to clients, and supported clients with online applications, virtual interviews and volunteering online. 

Maddison Hucks, Corporate Responsibility Manager at NHS Property Services, said: “We’re proud to be supporting Hillside with this initiative and having our colleagues share their skills to help isolated members of the community become more connected through technology. With the way the world has been the past year, having access to technology has become more important than ever. Not being able to access the services you need or speak to their friends or family can have a huge impact on your wellbeing and by teaching people how to do these things through their technology will make a world of difference.” 

New continuity of care midwife team launched

A new midwifery team has been unveiled at Barking, Havering, and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. The “Hera” team will provide continuity of care through all stages of pregnancy.  

The Hera team is made up of seven midwives, and has already supported six births so far, and will cover the area of Harold Wood and Hornchurch. 

Claire Mason, team leader, said: “Research shows that good continuity of care leads to better outcomes for new mothers, including reducing the number of stillbirths.

“We’re already finding the women we work with love having a specific team supporting them. At present, we have seven midwives in the team, with one vacancy to recruit to.” 

North Manchester Hospital rebuild  

Major rebuilding works at North Manchester Hospital have been given approval. The rebuilding project is one of the first in the UK to benefit from the government’s Health Infrastructure plan, which will see 40 new hospitals built by 2030.  

The work on the hospital will include asbestos removal, temporary car parking, and clinical refurbishment. Over 70% of the hospital site needs to be rebuilt, according to Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. The trust, along with Manchester City Council and Manchester Health and Care Commissioning, is leading the project.  

Morgan Sindall will be the construction partner for the project, but no date has been set for the work to be completed. £25m will be the estimated cost of the rebuilding works.  

Shaun Jones, Manchester Area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The appointment to begin the radical reshaping of a healthcare estate is, in itself, a significant responsibility, however, the opportunity to deliver social and economic change as a result of our work and to support the local recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic means this is a project that comes with a real sense of duty.” 

Under 30s vaccine rollout expected this week 

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced that the covid vaccine will be made available to under 30s this week. The news comes as the UK announced it had administered 27 million second doses.  

The NHS remains on track to offer every adult a vaccine by the end of July. The MHRA recently announced the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be available in the UK after passing the safety and regulatory checks. Encouraging news from studies has found that the current range of vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant. 

Matt Hancock said: “It is an astonishing achievement to deliver over 40 million first doses in just six months. In all four corners of the UK, people are stepping up when their time comes to protect themselves and the people around them. It seems with every day we pass another major milestone on the road back to recovery. Over three-quarters of adults have received a first dose and over half of adults have now been vaccinated with the life-saving second dose.”