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Programme launched to reduce the stigma that patients with alcohol problems face

Posted on: September 15th, 2017 by Andy Dowden No Comments

Health Education England elearning for healthcare (HEE elfh) has worked with the Health Innovation Network South London, the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London to develop an elearning programme for NHS healthcare professionals that aims to reduce the stigma encountered by patients with alcohol problems.

A powerful new film complements the elearning package to reduce the stigma that patients with alcohol problems face.

Using emotional and thought-provoking real stories voiced by patients alongside a practical package of training materials including facilitator’s notes, the elearning programme is a valuable resource for frontline professionals.

Having a better understanding of alcohol dependency may help healthcare professionals to improve longer-term outcomes for patients with alcohol dependency.

This elearning programme will be of interest to health and social care staff who come in to contact with patients with alcohol problems, whether that is in hospital, primary care or community settings.

Sometimes people with alcohol problems can be stereotyped, and judged to be less worthy of excellent treatment and care. Such stigma can be a barrier to help-seeking. It also impacts on treatment outcomes and diminishes patients’ feelings of empowerment.

Frontline health and social care staff regularly come into contact with patients with alcohol problems. While a small group of healthcare professionals are specifically trained in addictions or alcohol, many frontline staff will have received little or no specialist training in this area. The new national NHS Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUINs) payments framework for 2017-19 incentivises certain secondary healthcare clinicians to enquire about patients’ alcohol use, leading to possible brief intervention or referral to appropriate care.

The elearning programme includes a mix of resources including a thought-provoking film reflecting on some service user experiences, facilitator’s notes for group or face to face delivery of the training (recommended) and also a shorter online version for individuals keen to learn about this, who do not have access to the group training.

To access the free Alcohol Stigma elearning programme and to view the film please click

Alcohol IBA e-learning programme developed by Public Health England and Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare.

Posted on: July 17th, 2017 by Andy Dowden No Comments

We often think of alcohol misuse in terms of dependence and the conditions associated with heavy drinking like liver disease and pancreatitis. But, as last year’s Chief Medical Officers’ new guidance indicated, lower levels of alcohol misuse can contribute to a wide range of conditions not so readily associated with alcohol. Is it therefore worth considering how alcohol could be affecting the health of a wider range of patients and not just heavy drinkers?

The guidance indicates that regular consumption of more than 14 units of alcohol a week significantly raises the risk of ill health for adults. In fact, the risk of some cancers, including breast cancer, starts to increase with regular consumption of any alcohol.

Obviously, most people don’t knowingly want to take risks with their long-term health. The majority of patients who regularly drink over 14 units are probably unaware of the level of risk from their alcohol consumption. But, there are quick, effective screening tools available to health professionals to assess a patients risk from alcohol use and strong evidence that spending less than five minutes making people aware of that risk can persuade them to drink less.

Identifying those at risk and alerting them to the risk, known as alcohol identification and brief advice (IBA), has been researched extensively over the last 35 years. The overwhelming conclusion is that the practice can reduce weekly drinking across the patient cohort by up to 34% (between 3 to 9 units per week). This will reduce relative risk of alcohol-related conditions by c14%, and absolute risk of lifetime alcohol-related death by c20%.”. IBA can take less than 5 minutes and surveys have found that patients expect and are accepting of health practitioners asking about their alcohol use. NICE guidance recommends that all health professionals carry out IBA as an integral part of routine practice.

NICE guidance also recommends alcohol screening and advice for hypertensive patients – 35% of hypertension cases among men and 15% among women are alcohol-related[i]. Reducing alcohol consumption reduces the blood pressure of hypertensive people and alcohol-induced hypertension resolves within two to four weeks of abstinence (or substantial reduction)[ii].

IBA might be done at key opportunities with all patients, or targeted at particular at-risk groups. There are numerous opportunities to address alcohol consumption, such as when patients register with a GP or when reviewing medication. The NHS Health Check also includes an alcohol risk assessment and advice to those at risk and, in 2017-19, a CQUIN scheme will incentivise alcohol IBA and very brief advice on smoking for all inpatients in secondary care.

Health Education England elearning for healthcare (HEE elfh) has therefore worked with Public Health England to produce elearning sessions to support delivery of IBA. Courses take less than an hour to complete and give health staff understanding of the tools and techniques for delivering effective IBA.

For more information about elfh visit

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore MD, DL, FRCP

Chairman, Alcohol Health Alliance UK

University of Liverpool.

Health Education England Funded: Breaking Down the Barriers

Posted on: July 6th, 2017 by Andy Dowden No Comments

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust empowering teams through training and transforming physical health checks for people with mental health needs

People with serious mental illness (SMI) are at greatest risk of poor overall health and premature mortality. Figures show that people with SMI on average die 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population due to preventable physical health problems. Premature and avoidable deaths in people with SMI could be significantly reduced if their physical health needs were identified much earlier and effectively managed.

People with SMI often do not access healthcare in the same way as the general population.  For a long time this group of people have struggled to get appropriate, timely information, advice and support for their physical health needs on subjects including diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and how to quit smoking. Effective communication and collaboration across primary and secondary healthcare settings in closing the care and quality gaps in physical health and the management of care in people with severe mental health illness needs to be number one priority across the NHS.

Addressing the problem

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust’s (C&I) innovative approach focuses on the coordination and treatment of physical and mental health needs of people with psychosis and bipolar disorders, providing particular health treatment for COPD and diabetes. This is through physical health tests undertaken at special health and wellbeing clinics, use of a specially-designed physical health screening tool for tighter assessment and a programme of physical health training options for mental health staff.

The project’s key targets are:

  • reducing the suicide rate among psychosis patients by 20% by 2022
  • cutting the percentage of those smoking by 2% per year by 2020
  • widespread screening for diabetes to determine full prevalence up to 2020, before then reducing to stabilise at 18% or lower by 2022, reversing the national trend.

How is C&I transforming the way physical health checks are carried out amongst patients with SMI and related needs?

C&I set up a five-year programme known as the Integrated Practice Unit for Psychosis (IPU), working in partnership with Camden and Islington Clinical Commissioning Groups, local authorities, GPs, acute trusts and community health services. It is targeting 18 specific improvement outcomes addressing both mental and physical health, as well as wellbeing and quality of life.


Breaking Down the Barriers (BDtB) programme, funded by Health Education England, North, Central and East London and supported by UCLPartners has facilitated the delivery of training sessions at the Trust on Physical Health Checks, who does what? including the National Audit of Schizophrenia health check, Lester tool and Health Improvement Profile (HIPs). The programme aims to raise awareness of the importance of and significant positive health outcomes that early and timely physical health checks could have on people with SMIs.

Refining the physical health checks approach

C&I has a comprehensive Physical Health Screening Tool (PHST) in place and flow chart which describes the process staff should follow. This is supported by staff training, in addition, C&I has recently audited its medical equipment to ensure that staff working in the service have the right equipment in place. The Trust’s approach to ensuring staff are skilled in physical health assessment and intervention is based on the use of physical health skills self-assessment and training passport. This builds on existing skills and learning is through formal training, use of a simulation suite and in-team training with the practice development team.

Anthony JemmottAnthony Jemmott, a Community Nurse Manager with the Trust’s Integrated Practice Unit (IPU) in Camden, attended one of the BDtB training sessions in 2016. He said: “The BDtB training supported the development of the IPU and the physical health and wellbeing clinics within C&I. It has raised staff awareness and gave them the confidence to address the physical health and wellbeing needs of our service users with SMI. The research shows that people with serious mental illness die younger than the normal population – not from the mental health problems, but from a preventable long-term physical health condition. By carrying out physical health screening on this client group we would detect early symptoms of preventable long term physical health conditions like diabetes and COPD, also make interventions in smoking cessation, and therefore reduce the prevalence of these diseases and mortality rates.”

Seeing results

Susan CumminsSusan Cummins, Community Physical Health Matron, said: “The BDtB modules on COPD and diabetes are very informative and highly relevant to mental health staff working with service users who are more at risk of these conditions. The material is accessible to all staff, using plain and simple language. It is evidence- based and highlights the day to day challenges of treating and managing these long-term conditions. Participants are signposted to lots of other helpful resources for professionals. The sessions have been very well attended by a very broad range of disciplines and are highly engaging.”

Ronke Adejolu, Breaking Down the Barriers, UCLPartners, said: “NHS mental health professionals and the multidisciplinary workforce play a pivotal role and have exclusive opportunities to help people in their care to improve their physical health alongside mental health.”

Breaking Down the Barriers’ free physical health awareness training materials aim to increase awareness, skills and knowledge across the NHS workforce to help in the early identification of key risk factors that are known to adversely affect the physical health of people with mental health needs, including subsequent management of care and timely referrals to appropriate services.

Access Breaking Down the Barriers physical health checks training resources

Training resources can be accessed via elearning for Healthcare

Further information

Please visit

Tweet us @UCLPartners #UCLPartnersBreakingBarriers

Call us direct +44 (0)20 3108 2319 or contact the Project Support Officer

There is nothing more powerful than when the NHS health and social care workforce and community comes together to share ideas, stories and hope. UCLPartners makes this happen by bringing people and organisations together to transform the health and wellbeing of the population.

Get in Touch or

Laith’s story- a radiographer’s journey

Posted on: June 26th, 2017 by Andy Dowden No Comments

Originally from Iraq, I came to the UK in June 2007 after going through multiple traumatic events which prevented me from completing my secondary school education. My biggest mission when I first arrived was to learn the language from scratch before starting my education journey again. I have always known that I wanted to work in healthcare but was not sure which job was best for me and because of the limited English I had, I thought it was impossible for me to work in this field.

Therefore, I studied IT for two years whilst at the same time working hard to improve my English then decided to change my education route and applied for an Access course to get me into university. After reading about the different health careers available and gaining work experience in radiography in multiple hospitals, I had come to conclusion that radiography is the right career for me.

In September 2013, I started my degree at the University of Cumbria studying BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography, with my hard work and dedication I have managed to complete my degree successfully and become a Radiographer. During my time at the university, I had a few favourite experiences including being a student ambassador, which has been one of the best highlights and one that I will always remember, as it helped strengthen my communication and presentation skills, organisational as well as team working skills. I have also been a successful Student Representative for my cohort. Whilst I was at the university, I attended multiple student conferences including: SoR Annual Student Conference and GCU Inter-University Radiography Conference. I have also attended few internal and external CPD activities in Image Interpretation, Spine Imaging and Surgery Planning, CT Head Scanning and Interpretation, and Mentor Training Course.

I am currently working at Sunderland Royal Hospital as a Radiographer since August 2016. One month later, I was nominated to be one of the Union Learning Representatives in my department and since then we have been running some very successful in-house CPD activities such as talks and practical sessions about facial bones (techniques and image interpretation); CT Heads – Indications for scanning and pathology; Moyamoya disease and cerebral angiography; Basic Interpretation of the Chest X-ray; Shoulder imaging and modified techniques; elfh Image Interpretation programme; and An introduction to CPD Now. We use elfh sessions to support our CPD programme by identifying sessions that staff can complete prior to the timetabled CPD learning session. This is to enrich the learning further. Following the CPD sessions we support staff to reflect on their learning and how it will impact on their practice.

In the future, I am hoping to specialise in plain-film reporting whilst at the same time mentoring students and promoting learning across the department.

Laith Hasan,

Radiographer and SoR Union Learning Representative,

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

A Spare 20 minutes – End of Life Care for All (e-ELCA)

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 by Andy Dowden No Comments

I was recently told that my blog, published in September for the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC), was number eight in ‘most viewed in 2016’ list.  Why was this I wonder?

Did the informal style draw potential users in? Waiting for a meeting?  Travelling on a train?  A spare 20 minutes before lunch? Why not open an e-ELCA elearning session and learn something new?

Of course, members of the EAPC will think end of life care important, but was it the information about accessing on-line learning that was of prime interest to them especially those in Europe who can access the amazing content of over 160 sessions through purchase via e-Integrity?

Was it the Twitter sphere? @Cmf_elca doesn’t have a great following but those that follow me have a huge network across health and social care communities.  Did those six retweets make a difference I wonder?

I’m not sure whether these were the key factors but I do know that the value of e-ELCA to teachers and learners seems to be increasing and the launch and completion of session data has shown dramatic rises in the past 18 months.  Two factors are very definitely key to this.  Firstly support from e-LFH on developing a targeted marketing and communications plan.   This has included attending many national and regional conferences, handing out leaflets contributions to workshops and poster presentations.

We have also helped users navigate the programme to find the sessions that support their learning needs.  Unlike some other programmes e-ELCA is not targeted at a single audience or a single curriculum.  It has content that is designed to address the core competences required by the health and social care workforce in providing high quality end of life care, but what a care worker needs to know is quite different to what a GP trainee may need.  Our learning paths have become an important feature to help users find the sessions they need and these continue to develop.  Some learning paths are to support individual Trusts (for example the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) learning paths for doctors, end of life care facilitators and for other healthcare professionals) some are focused on staff groups (for example priorities for care of the dying person for nurses) and some support defined curriculum such as the NVQ levels 2,3 & 5

Many specialists in palliative care are using the sessions within their teaching. For example for a course about advance care planning (ACP) Introduction to Principles of Advance Care Planning may be used to bring course participants to a common level before attending a study day. This ACP course might also make use of  e-ELCA material for discussion within a group (for example How to Negotiate Decisions Which May be Difficult to Implement)  and perhaps as a way to consolidate or further learning (for example Developing Your Practice: Clinical Supervision and Further Reading).

There are tips about how e-ELCA can motivate and engage learners on the e-ELCA website.  My newest venture to help learners and educators make best use of this amazing, free resource is a YouTube channel (a work in progress!)

The e-ELCA session that is my personal favorite is Spirituality and Philosophy of End of Life Care.  It’s a session that makes me think and reflect even after over 25 years of supporting people who are dying. The importance of the holistic approach to people in finding themselves, is so beautifully articulated through a patient video.  A good way to spend those 20 minutes!

Professor Christina Faull
Consultant in Palliative Medicine
LOROS Hospice, Leicester, UK
Association for Palliative Medicine National Clinical Lead for e-ELCA
YouTube e-ELCA

Award win for NHS e-learning programme

Posted on: November 9th, 2016 by Andy Dowden No Comments

Health Education England’s elearning for healthcare (HEE elfh) programme picked up the “Best Adapt Project” award at the Learning Pool 2016 awards.

Adapt is an open source authoring tool for creating fully responsive, multi-device, HTML5 elearning content and Learning Pool are one of the organisations behind the open source project. The award was given in recognition of the way the authoring tool has been used in HEE elfh’s MindEd for Families elearning resource.

The “Best Adapt Project” judges were looking for evidence that the project is innovative and original and that the interactivity is used to reinforce learning. elfh certainly achieved this; pushing the limits of what can be done with Adapt and creating a comprehensive, graphically rich suite of resources of the highest quality. The team also used an innovative co-authoring model where parents and clinicians collaborated on each session along with elfh’s instructional designers.

HEE elfh’s MindEd for Families programme is aimed at parents and carers of children and young people who suffer from poor mental health. It was developed in partnership with a consortium to ensure this sensitive subject was handled appropriately and accurately, including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of General Practitioners, Young Minds, the National Children’s Bureau, the Royal College of Nursing and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. It also put parents at the heart of the authoring process to ensure that their views were represented and the output was right for them as the ultimate users of the content.

Commenting on HEE elfh’s recent win, Martin Sinclair, elfh Programme Lead, said: “HEE elfh is delighted to receive a Learning Pool award for the MindEd for Families programme. As elearning professionals it is great to see that our good work has been recognised by the industry and we are all very proud of MindEd for Families. It is an important and necessary resource for people in very difficult situations and we hope that we can make a positive difference.”

For more information about HEE elfh’s programme please visit

Attached photograph shows from L to R:

  • Sam Barbee – Sales and Marketing Director, Learning Pool
  • Martin Sinclair – Programme Lead, elearning for healthcare
  • Wendy Lowe – Instructional Designer, elearning for healthcare
  • Deborah Limb – Chief Operations Officer, Learning Pool.

Interoperability link – AICC

Posted on: August 30th, 2016 by Andy Dowden No Comments

The interoperability link from Health Education England has been vital to our continued development of Technology Enhanced Learning at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals.

We use Moodle as our Learning Management System which hosts all of our elearning and induction modules and we build the majority of these modules ourselves, with the support of Subject Matter Experts. Safer Use of Insulin was an external package we used, but had its limitations. We weren’t able to host this on our platform and simply provided a link for users to register their details on an external site. We then had to run a special report to capture all completions.

With the help of Health Education England, not only can we use their elearning content for this course, but we can also track all completions and the user can even download a certificate of completion, all within the Moodle platform.

From an administration perspective, it couldn’t be easier to add this course to our platform as the instructions are simple and anyone familiar with Moodle can utilise this AICC facility.

Over 2,500 members of staff are required to complete this module, and it is also included within the Medical Induction that users complete before they start at the Trust.

For more information contact David Spinks, Technology Enhanced Learning Manager, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS by emailing or Charlotte Teager, Professional Advisor for Technology Enhanced Learning, Health Education England in the East of England by emailing

Can you spare 15 minutes to shape the future of technology enhanced learning in healthcare?

Posted on: August 19th, 2016 by Andy Dowden No Comments

Health Education England’s Technology Enhanced Learning Programme (TEL) is working on the Department of Health mandate to find digital solutions to some of the challenges presented in accessing, creating and sharing online teaching and learning resources.

The TEL team is conducting a short survey looking at the current use, attitudes and views toward online learning resources. The findings from this research will go towards improving access to learning resources, greater collaboration and sharing of information, and the avoidance of costly duplication.

Please can you spare 15 minutes to undertake this survey? The team is looking for the views of Allied Healthcare Professionals, Higher Education Teachers and Trainers, Commissioners, GPs, Nurses, Healthcare Scientists, Doctors, Radiographers, Health Care Assistants, Paramedics, Physician Associates, and many more – everyone working or training in health and social care!

Start the Survey Now

This survey is part of a wider user testing exercise that is cross-checking existing research. All data you provide in your answers remains anonymous, and you will not be asked to provide your name or your specific place of work. Please answer all questions to the best of your ability. You do not need to spend very long on each question and there are no right or wrong answers. It may seem that some questions are asked more than once but this is part of the chosen methodology.

If you would like to find out more about the TEL Programme please visit HEE’s website or email


End of Life Care for All e-learning (e-ELCA)

Posted on: August 1st, 2016 by Andy Dowden No Comments

Waiting for a meeting?  Travelling on a train?  A spare 20 minutes before lunch? Why not open an End of Life Care for All (e-ELCA) elearning session and learn something new?  Created in 2010 and completely updated in 2015, e-ELCA is an elearning programme aimed at enhancing the training and education of all those involved in providing end-of-life care. It is managed by Health Education England’s elearning for healthcare programme in partnership with the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland (APM).

e-ELCA has over 160 elearning sessions written by specialists in the field of palliative care in the UK and Ireland. The sessions are grouped into subject specific modules about advance care planning, symptom management, assessment, communication skills and bereavement, two modules that focus on learning for social care, spiritual care and a module that uses case scenarios to help integrate learning.  More information about the background and detail of the content can be found in our recent EJPC article – please see below.

You can register for e-ELCA or if you are not eligible you can purchase it. Thirteen sessions are free to access.  Additionally Recognising the Last Months and Days of Life is available as a sample session.   This is a very important session to help doctors and nurses address the significant issues that recent reports about the quality of end of life care have highlighted.

You can see further how e-ELCA sessions can support the competences required to meet the Priorities of Care of the Dying Person report by you or your trainees, students or colleagues completing a Training Needs Analysis.   NICE has indicated that e-ELCA sessions are a good way of supporting implementation of the Guideline for Care of Dying Adults in the Last Days of Life.

Many specialists in palliative care are using the sessions within their teaching. For example for a course about advance care planning (ACP) Introduction to Principles of Advance Care Planning may be used to bring course participants to a common level before attending a study day. This ACP course may also make use of e-ELCA material for discussion within a group (for example How to Negotiate Decisions Which May be Difficult to Implement) and perhaps as a way to consolidate or further learning (for example  Developing Your Practice: Clinical Supervision and Further Reading.  There are tips about how e-ELCA can motivate and engage learners and suggested learning paths or collections of sessions to support staff groups.  In addition e-ELCA sessions have been mapped to the end of life care qualification, especially useful for social care workers.  Mapping to the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland Undergraduate Medical Student Curriculum is underway.  Keep in touch through the e-ELCA website

My personal favourite session is Spirituality and Philosophy of End of Life Care.  It’s a session that makes me think and reflect even after over 25 years of supporting people who are dying. The importance of the holistic approach to people in finding themselves, is so beautifully articulated through a patient video.  A good way to spend those 20 minutes!

European Journal for Palliative Care July 2016

Professor Christina Faull
Consultant in Palliative Medicine
LOROS hospice, Leicester UK
APM National Clinical Lead for e-ELCA

elfh is a Health Education England programme in partnership with the NHS and professional bodies