News, News in Brief

News in brief: ICS forms single point of access for talking therapies, chatbot supports new parents in Greater Manchester, and more

Here, we take a look at some of the latest health tech news stories to have caught our eye over the last few weeks.

App offers support with infant feeding for new parents in Greater Manchester

In Greater Manchester, free access to an app offering 24/7 infant feeding support is being rolled out for new parents, with “a suite of 3D animations to help them successfully breastfeed their child” and evidence-based support with Anya-AI, a virtual support chatbot which can also connect users to experts if they need more help.

The rollout of the Anya platform is being funded by the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Local Maternity and Neonatal System and Anya, with additional premium features also available with a subscription.

Eileen Stringer, clinical lead midwife for the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Strategic Clinical Networks, said: “We hope thousands of women will find this app really useful and help to reduce the stress of breastfeeding, especially if it isn’t working out initially. The app will act like a friendly midwife at home, answering questions and using the latest research and evidence to help them.”

Single point of access Talking Therapies service launched in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin

Existing Talking Therapies teams across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, are being brought together within a “fully integrated” service with a single point of access.

The service offers information, guidance, and a range of treatment options for anyone aged 16 or over who is registered with a Shropshire or Telford and Wrekin GP, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and counselling.

Patients can also use a chatbot to help them self-refer to the service, which gathers necessary information to enable the creation of a new referral, before offering options to book in for an initial assessment appointment.

Caroline Dugen-Williams, clinical lead for the service, spoke of the benefits for patients in being able to self-refer without needing a GP appointment, adding that the team are “hugely excited” about the new service, which has “dramatically improved access times”.

Free health and wellbeing support website launched in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland

In Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland, a free health and wellbeing support website, “Joy”, has been launched, offering access and signposting for available services in the region from the NHS, local authorities, and the community sector.

Categories covered on the website include fitness classes, diabetes self-help groups, food banks, counselling and more. GP practices across the region have also been connected with Joy, “making it easier and more effective for them to socially prescribe”.

Rachna Vyas, COO at the NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland, talked of the team’s “delight” in launching the website, sharing the ambition that “Joy becomes a way that everybody connects, resulting in better mental health and wellbeing across Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland”.

Study funded by NIHR and Imperial Biomedical Research Centre finds “innovative medical device” can relieve chest pain

A study funded by the NIHR and Imperial Biomedical Research Centre has found that an “innovative medical device” can relieve chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.

The coronary sinus reducer, a small stainless steel device, was found to present “significant reductions in the daily number of chest pain episodes” for patients, compared with patients receiving a placebo procedure.

Dr Rasha Al-Lamee, senior author of the research, said that although the study “wasn’t able to show us how this device works”, it does “seem to reduce angina frequency in patients with refractory angina”.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust launches online hub to support young people transitioning to adult healthcare

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has launched an online hub to help support young people with the transition from youth to adult healthcare services, offering information and resources to help 11-25s “understand their unique challenges and needs”, including advice around education and employment rights.

Feedback on the 11to25 hub has suggested that it helps “make healthcare information more accessible”, and it is hoped that it can “lead to improvements in patient care”, ensuring that parents, teachers and healthcare workers are “empowered to better understand young people’s unique needs”.

Dr Claudia Gore, consultant in paediatric allergy and immunology, highlighted that in the hub’s first twelve months, it has had “more than 10,000 unique visitors and over 500,000 visits”, adding: “On a daily basis, the hub is making a real difference in terms of the way I share information with young people and there is national interest in using this model. We now look forward to the next steps and hope to expand the 11to25 hub, with specific modules for young people who have a learning disability or autism.”

Free online information and resources on autism offered by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

As part of its Recovery College Online, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust is offering free information and resources on autism, including a worksheet to help support the emotional wellbeing of autistic people, information about “what it’s like to be autistic”, and guidance on how to prevent autistic burnout.

A free online course on “ADAPT: After Diagnosis of Autism Parent support Training”, has also been developed in collaboration with experts and “those with personal experience of mental health difficulties.

These resources are available to anyone, and can be accessed by creating an account on the Recovery College Online website.