• How can health systems be strengthened to control and prevent an Ebola outbreak? a narrative review

      Regmi, Krishna; Gilbert, Ruth; Thunhurst, Colin (Taylor & Francis, 2015-11-24)
      The emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases are now more than ever considered threats to public health systems. There have been over 20 outbreaks of Ebola in the past 40 years. Only recently, the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) in West Africa, with a projected estimate of 1.2 million deaths expected in the next 6 months. Ebola virus is a highly virulent pathogen, often fatal in humans and non-human primates. Ebola is now a great priority for global health security and often becomes fatal if left untreated. This study employed a narrative review. Three major databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Global Health were searched using both ‘text-words’ and ‘thesaurus terms’. Evidence shows that low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are not coping well with the current challenges of Ebola, not only because they have poor and fragile systems but also because there are poor infectious disease surveillance and response systems in place. The identification of potential cases is problematic, particularly in the aspects of contact tracing, infection control, and prevention, prior to the diagnosis of the case. This review therefore aims to examine whether LMICs’ health systems would be able to control and manage Ebola in future and identifies two key elements of health systems strengthening that are needed to ensure the robustness of the health system to respond effectively.
    • Identification of complex health interventions suitable for evaluation: development and validation of the 8-step scoping framework

      Davidson, Rosemary; Randhawa, Gurch; Cash, Stephanie; University of Bedfordshire; Flying Start (JMIR Publications, 2019-03-05)
      Background: There is extensive literature on the methodology of evaluation research and the development and evaluation of complex interventions but little guidance on the formative stages before evaluation and how to work with partner organizations that wish to have their provision evaluated. It is important to be able to identify suitable projects for evaluation from a range of provision and describe the steps required, often with academic institutions working in partnership with external organizations, in order to set up an evaluation. However, research evaluating programs or interventions rarely discusses these stages. Objective: This study aimed to extend work on evaluability assessment and pre-evaluation planning by proposing an 8-Step Scoping Framework to enable the appraisal of multiple programs in order to identify interventions suitable for evaluation. We aimed to add to the literature on evaluability assessment and more recent evaluation guidance by describing the processes involved in working with partner organizations. Methods: This paper documents the steps required to identify multiple complex interventions suitable for process and outcome evaluation. The steps were developed using an iterative approach by working alongside staff in a local government organization, to build an evidence base to demonstrate which interventions improve children’s outcomes. The process of identifying suitable programs for evaluation, thereby establishing the pre-evaluation steps, was tested using all Flying Start provision. Results: The 8-Step Scoping Framework was described using the example of the local government organization Flying Start to illustrate how each step contributes to finding projects suitable for process and outcome evaluation: (1) formulating overarching key questions that encompass all programs offered by an organization, (2) gaining an in-depth understanding of the work and provision of an organization and engaging staff, (3) completing a data template per project/program offered, (4) assessing the robustness/validity of data across all programs, (5) deciding on projects suitable for evaluation and those requiring additional data, (6) negotiating with chosen project leads, both within and outside the organization, (7) developing individual project evaluation protocols, and (8) applying for ethical approval from the university and partner organization. Conclusions: This paper describes the processes involved in identifying suitable projects for evaluation. It adds to the existing literature on the assessment of specific programs suitable for evaluation and guidance for conducting evaluations by establishing the formative steps required to identify suitable programs from a range of provision. This scoping framework particularly relates to academic partners and organizations tasked with delivering evidence-based services designed to meet local needs. The steps identified have been described in the context of early years provision but can be applied to a range of community-based evaluations, or more generally, to cases where an academic partner is working with external stakeholders to identify projects suitable for academic evaluation.
    • The impact of location of the uptake of telephone based healthcare

      Cook, Erica Jane; Randhawa, Gurch; Guppy, Andrew; Chater, Angel M.; Pang, Dong; Large, Shirley; University of Bedfordshire; Public Health England (2016-06-01)
      Telephone healthcare systems have been put forward as a key strategy to overcome geographical disadvantage, however, evidence has suggested that usage decreases with increasing rurality. This research aimed to identify geographical high and low areas of usage of NHS Direct, a leading telephone healthcare provider worldwide to determine if usage is influenced by rurality. National call data was collected (January, 2011) from the NHS Direct Clinical Assessment System for all 0845 4647 calls in England, UK (N=360,137). Data extracted for analysis included; unit postcode of patient, type of call, date of call, time of call and final disposition. Calls were mapped using GIS mapping software using full postcode, aggregated by population estimate by local authority to determine confidence intervals across two thresholds by call rate. Uptake rate Output Area Classification (OAC) group profiles was performed using the chi-square goodness of fit. The majority of calls were ‘symptomatic’ (N=280,055; 74.8%) i.e. calls that were triaged by an expert nurse, with the remaining 25.2% of calls health/ medicine information only (N=94,430). NHS Direct were able to manage through self-care advice and health information 43.5 of all calls made (N=99,367) with no onward referral needed. Geographical pattern of calls were highest for more urbanised areas with significant higher call usage found in larger cities. Lower observed usage was found in areas that are more rural of which were characterised by above average older populations. This was supported by geo-segmentation, which highlighted that rural and older communities had the lowest expected uptake rate. There is a variation of usage of NHS Direct relating to rurality, which suggests that this type of service has not been successful in reducing accessible barriers. However, geographical variations are likely to be influenced by age. There is a need for exploratory to determine the underlying factors that contribute to variation in uptake of these services particularly older people who reside in rural communities. This will have worldwide implications as to how telephone based healthcare is introduced.
    • Inequalities and outcomes: end stage kidney disease in ethnic minorities

      Wilkinson, Emma; Brettle, Alison; Waqar, Muhammad; Randhawa, Gurch; University of Bedfordshire; University of Salford (Biomed Central, 2019-06-26)
      Background The international evidence about outcomes of End Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) for ethnic minorities was reviewed to identify gaps and make recommendations for researchers and policy makers. Methods Nine databases were searched systematically with 112 studies from 14 different countries included and analysed to produce a thematic map of the literature. Results Reviews (n = 26) highlighted different mortality rates and specific causes between ethnic groups and by stage of kidney disease associated with individual, genetic, social and environmental factors. Primary studies focussing on uptake of treatment modalities (n = 19) found ethnic differences in access. Research evaluating intermediate outcomes and quality of care in different treatment phases (n = 35) e.g. dialysis adequacy, transplant evaluation and immunosuppression showed ethnic minorities were disadvantaged. This is despite a survival paradox for some ethnic minorities on dialysis seen in studies of longer term outcomes (n = 29) e.g. in survival time post-transplant and mortality. There were few studies which focussed on end of life care (n = 3) and ethnicity. Gaps identified were: limited evidence from all stages of the ESKD pathway, particularly end of life care; a lack of system oriented studies with a reliance on national routine datasets which are limited in scope; a dearth of qualitative studies; and a lack studies from many countries with limited cross country comparison and learning. Conclusions Differences between ethnic groups occur at various points and in a variety of outcomes throughout the kidney care system. The combination of individual factors and system related variables affect ethnic groups differently indicating a need for culturally intelligent policy informed by research to prevent disadvantage.
    • Public knowledge and attitudes towards consent policies for organ donation in Europe: a systematic review

      Molina-Pérez, Alberto; Rodríguez-Arias, David; Delgado-Rodríguez, Janet; Morgan, Myfanwy; Frunza, Mihaela; Randhawa, Gurch; Reiger-Van de Wijdeven, Jeantine; Schiks, Eline; Wöhlke, Sabine; Schicktanz, Silke; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-10-02)
    • Public–private partnerships to improve primary healthcare surgeries: clarifying assumptions about the role of private provider activities

      Mudyarabikwa, Oliver; Tobi, Patrick; Regmi, Krishna (Cambridge University Press, 2017-05-02)
      To examine assumptions about public–private partnership (PPP) activities and their role in improving public procurement of primary healthcare surgeries. PPPs were developed to improve the quality of care and patient satisfaction. However, evidence of their effectiveness in delivering health benefits is limited. A qualitative study design was employed. A total of 25 interviews with public sector staff (n=23) and private sector managers (n=2) were conducted to understand their interpretations of assumptions in the activities of private investors and service contractors participating in Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) partnerships. Realist evaluation principles were applied in the data analysis to interpret the findings. Six thematic areas of assumed health benefits were identified: (i) quality improvement; (ii) improved risk management; (iii) reduced procurement costs; (iv) increased efficiency; (v) community involvement; and (vi) sustainable investment. Primary Care Trusts that chose to procure their surgeries through LIFT were expected to support its implementation by providing an environment conducive for the private participants to achieve these benefits. Private participant activities were found to be based on a range of explicit and tacit assumptions perceived helpful in achieving government objectives for LIFT. The success of PPPs depended upon private participants’ (i) capacity to assess how PPP assumptions added value to their activities, (ii) effectiveness in interpreting assumptions in their expected activities, and (iii) preparedness to align their business principles to government objectives for PPPs. They risked missing some of the expected benefits because of some factors constraining realization of the assumptions. The ways in which private participants preferred to carry out their activities also influenced the extent to which expected benefits were achieved. Giving more discretion to public than private participants over critical decisions may help in ensuring that assumptions in PPP activities result in outcomes that match the anticipated health benefits.
    • A qualitative exploration of staff views towards the uptake of NHS Direct

      Cook, Erica Jane; Randhawa, Gurch; Large, Shirley; Guppy, Andrew; Chater, Angel M.; Ali, Nasreen (Elsevier, 2014-02-24)
      Objectives To explore the views of staff to examine the underlying factors that may contribute to the variation of uptake to NHS Direct. Methods Adopting a qualitative approach two focus groups were carried out with staff (n=13); which included registered nurse advisors and health advisors at two NHS Direct sites: Bristol and Manchester in England. Findings were analysed using framework analysis [1] . Results Staff views for explaining reasons why people do and do not engage with NHS Direct focused on themes centred on ‘knowledge of NHS Direct’, ‘attitudes towards NHS Direct’, ‘the cost of using NHS Direct’, ‘time/speed of using NHS Direct’ and finally ‘satisfaction with the service’. Conclusion This research has explored staff views of the barriers and facilitators that may impact on the uptake NHS Direct, which can help enable the development of future promotional campaigns that can target particular sections of the population to encourage use of telephone based healthcare services.
    • Research protocol: general practice organ donation intervention-a feasibility study (GPOD)

      Penn-Jones, Catrin Pedder; Papadopoulos, Chris; Randhawa, Gurch; Asghar, Zeeshan (BMC, 2018-11-12)
      BACKGROUND: New interventions are required to increase the number of people donating their organs after death. In the United States of America (USA), general practice has proved to be a successful location to increase organ donor registration. However, a dearth of research exists examining this in the United Kingdom (UK). due to the unique challenges presented by the National Health Service (NHS). This protocol outlines a feasibility study to assess whether UK general practice is a feasible and acceptable location for organ donation intervention targeting NHS Organ Donor Register (NHS ODR) membership. METHODS: The primary intervention element, prompted choice, requires general practice to ask patients in consultations if they wish to join the NHS ODR. Two additional intervention techniques will be used to support prompted choice: staff training and leaflets and posters. The intervention will run for 3 months (April-July 2018) followed by a period of data collection. The following methods will be used to assess feasibility, acceptability and fidelity: registration data, a training evaluation survey, focus groups with staff and online surveys for staff and patients. DISCUSSION: By examining the feasibility, acceptability and fidelity of a prompted choice intervention in UK general practice, important knowledge can be gathered on whether it is a suitable location to conduct this. Additional learning can also be gained generally for implementing interventions in general practice. This could contribute to the knowledge base concerning the feasibility of NHS general practice to host interventions.
    • Role of religion in organ donation - development of the United Kingdom Faith and Organ Donation Action Plan

      Randhawa, Gurch; Neuberger, J.; University of Bedfordshire; National Health Service Blood and Transplant (Elsevier USA, 2016-04-01)
      At a national policy level, the United Kingdom is at the forefront of recognizing the role of faith and its impact on organ donation. This is demonstrated by the recommendations of the Organ Donation Taskforce, National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines on organ donation, All-Party Parliamentary Kidney Group, and National Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Taskforce Alliance. Evidence to date shows that further thought is required to ensure the active engagement of faith communities with organ donation in the UK. The "Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020" strategy was launched in July 2013 by National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) in collaboration with the Department of Health and Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish governments and seeks to increase the number of people, from all sections of the UK's multiethnic and multifaith population, who consent to and authorize organ donation in their life. NHSBT seeks to work in partnership with faith leaders and this culminated in a Faith and Organ Donation Summit. Faith leaders highlight that there is a need for engagement at both national and local levels concerning organ donation as well as diagnosis and definition of death.
    • Stakeholder perspectives on public-private partnership in health service delivery in Sindh province of Pakistan: a qualitative study

      Khan, N.N.; Puthussery, Shuby (Elsevier, 2019-03-15)
      Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the perspectives of stakeholders on public-private partnership (PPP) in healthcare service delivery in Sindh province of Pakistan including the reasons for adopting such policies and the barriers for its implementation. Study design: This was a qualitative primary study. Methods: Semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with 13 stakeholders, including officials from provincial government and district administration (legislators, district managers, deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners) and representatives from private sector organisations with direct or indirect role in implementation of PPP policy, selected using purposive sampling methods. Data were analysed using a thematic approach. Results: Participants had very limited in-depth understanding about the concept of PPP. They considered multifaceted corruption in the health system and the success of existing PPP initiatives as the main reasons for the PPP policy adoption. Resistance from healthcare staff was perceived as the main barrier for implementation of PPP. There was a common perception that better monitoring capacity in the private sector management can be a cause of concern for public sector employees who may have become used to less efficient working. A common theme found in the narratives was the possible apprehensions from healthcare staff about the loss of their jobs. Conclusion: Our findings indicated lack of effective engagement with key stakeholders and the resistance from healthcare staff as the key barriers for PPP implementation in Sindh, Pakistan. These findings provide useful insights for the successful implementation of such initiatives in Pakistan as well as in other similar settings.
    • A systematic review of knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about malaria among the South Asian population

      Regmi, Krishna; Kunwar, Anju; Ortega, Leonard; University of Bedfordshire; World Health Organization (Taylor & Francis, 2016-05-02)
      Background Malaria is one of the deadliest mosquito-borne diseases in the world. More than 80% of the total populations are at risk of malaria in the 22 countries in Asia and the Pacific. South Asia alone is home to an estimated 1.4 billion people at risk of contracting malaria. Despite the remarkable progress in reducing the burden of malaria, evidence of the disease based on knowledge of the social and cultural contexts from a South Asian perspective is limited. Our objective was to understand the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about malaria in South Asian communities. Methodology We conducted a systematic literature review, searching six databases, between 1990 and 2015, focusing on knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about malaria in South Asia. Databases were searched using both ‘free terms’ and ‘index terms’ funnelled using Boolean operators and truncations. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were set, and included papers were scrutinised, employing a critical appraisal tool to find the best available evidences to support the study purpose. Results and discussion Evidence from 32 articles (26 quantitative, four qualitative and two mixed methods). General knowledge and awareness of the disease, its transmission, and control and preventative measures were generally found to be lacking amongst both the general public and healthcare professionals. In addition, the study shows that poor socio-economic factors – including limited access to services due to poor/limited availability – and issues of affordability are considered as major risk factors. Conclusion This review suggests the importance of increasing health awareness, mobilising the local or community healthcare professionals, for prevention as well as early detection and effective treatment of malaria among people who are at risk. Malaria is also a disease associated with poverty and socio-cultural factors; therefore, strong political will, wider partnerships between health and non-health sectors, and strengthening health systems’ technical and managerial capabilities at all level of primary healthcare systems, is inevitable.
    • Understanding healthcare self-referral in Nigeria from the service users' perspective: a qualitative study of Niger state

      Koce, Francis George; Randhawa, Gurch; Ochieng, Bertha; University of Bedfordshire; De Montfort University (Biomed Central, 2019-04-02)
      Background The by-pass of the primary level of care to the referral facilities has continued to raise concerns for the healthcare delivery system. About 60–90% of patients in Nigeria are reported to self-refer to a referral level of care. Thus, this study sought to identify the factors that influence service-users’ decision to self-refer to the secondary healthcare facilities in Nigeria by exploring the perceptions and experiences of the service-users. Methods Twenty-four self-referred service-users were interviewed from three selected secondary healthcare facilities (general hospitals) in Niger state, Nigeria. The interviews were tape-recorded, each lasting 20 min on average. This was subsequently transcribed and framework analysis was employed for the analysis. Results Various reasons were identified to have resulted in the bypass of the primary healthcare facilities in favour of the secondary level of care. The identified themes were organised based on the predisposing, enabling and need component of Andersen’s model. These themes included: patients understanding of the healthcare delivery system; perceptions about the healthcare providers; perceptions about healthcare equipment/ facilities; advice from relatives and friends; service-users’ expectations; access to healthcare facilities; regulations/ policies; medical symptoms; perceptions of severity of medical symptoms. Conclusions The findings from this study call for an evaluation of the current healthcare referral system, particularly in developing settings like Nigeria and consequently the need for developing a contextual model as applicable to individual settings. Therefore, a multifaceted approach is needed to address the current concerns to ensure patients utilise the appropriate level of care. This will ensure the primary healthcare facilities are not undermined and allow the referral levels of care to live up to their mandate.
    • Who uses NHS health checks? Investigating the impact of ethnicity and gender and method of invitation on uptake of NHS health checks

      Cook, Erica Jane; Sharp, Chloe; Randhawa, Gurch; Guppy, Andy; Gangotra, Raj; Cox, Jonathon (BioMed Central Ltd., 2016-09-01)
      Background NHS Health Checks is a national risk assessment prevention programme for all individuals aged 40-74 that reside in England. Through the systematic assessment of an individual’s ten year disease risk, this programme aims to provide early identification and subsequent management of this risk. However, there is limited evidence on how socio-demographic factors impact on uptake and what influence the invitation method has on uptake to this programme. Methods NHS Health Check data from April 2013 to March 2014 was analysed (N = 50,485) for all 30 GP Practices in Luton, a culturally diverse town in England, UK. Data was collected for age, ethnicity, uptake (attendance and non attendance) and invitation method (letter written, verbal face-to-face, telephone). Actual usage of NHS Health Checks was determined for each ethnic group of the population and compared using Chi-square analysis. Results The overall uptake rate for Luton was 44 %, markedly lower that the set target of 50–75 %. The findings revealed a variation of uptake in relation to age, gender, level of deprivation. Ethnicity and gender variations were also found, with ‘White British’ ‘Black Caribbean’ and ‘Indian’ patients most likely to take up a NHS Health Check. However, patients from ‘Any Other White Background’ and ‘Black African’ were significantly less likely to uptake an NHS Health Check compared to all other ethnic groups. Ethnicity and gender differences were also noted in relation to invitation method. Conclusions The findings revealed that different invitation methods were effective for different ethnic and gender groups. Therefore, it is suggested that established protocols of invitation are specifically designed for maximizing the response rate for each population group. Future research should now focus on uncovering the barriers to uptake in particular culturally diverse population groups to determine how public health teams can better engage with these communities.
    • Who's opting-in? a demographic analysis of the U.K. NHS Organ Donor Register

      Penn-Jones, Catrin Pedder; Papadopoulos, Chris; Randhawa, Gurch; University of Bedfordshire (PLOS, 2019-01-02)
      The NHS Organ Donor Register (NHS ODR) is a centralised database for U.K. residents wishing to be organ donors. Opt-in membership to the NHS ODR demonstrates an expression of a wish to donate, which can be key in decisions made by family members at time of death. By examining the demographic breakdown of the 24.9 million registrants, campaigns can be better targeted to increase membership among those groups underrepresented on the NHS ODR. Data from the NHS ODR (as of March 2017) was analysed using Chi2 Goodness of Fit analyses and Chi2 Test of Independence for the categorical variables of gender, nation of residency at time of registration, ethnicity, organ preference, registration age and age at registration. Goodness of fit analyses showed significant differences between demographic representation on the NHS ODR compared to the U.K. population. Cramer's V showed significant associations were only of note (above 0.1) for age, ethnicity in the U.K. as a whole and ethnicity in England. Older (70+) and younger people (0-14) were underrepresented and those of White Ethnicity overrepresented on the NHS ODR. Although association strength was weak, more women and less residents of England were present compared to the U.K. population. Tests of independence showed significant differences between age at registration and current age on the register and cornea donation preferences. These results indicate areas for targeting by campaigns to increase NHS ODR membership. By understanding the strength of these associations, resources can be utilised in areas where underrepresentation is larger and will have the most impact to demographics of the NHS ODR. Additionally, by identifying which groups are over and underrepresented, future research can explore the reasons for this in these demographic groups.