Call to Action And Covid Recovery

Patient groups globally are not only helping their communities to deal with the pandemic, but striving to ensure that access to treatments and care continues. There’s a dual challenge of not only advocating to re-engage patients with services disrupted by Covid-19, but also taking opportunities to embed digital health to help improve access to care. We look at how groups are tackling the fight against Covid-19 on these two fronts.

Cancer patient groups unite with clinicians

A wide range of cancer patient groups including the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) and the World Bladder Cancer Coalition support an ongoing call to action. It’s co-ordinated by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), a European professional organisation for medical oncology, and shared across many patient group websites and their social media channels.

Setting the context for the call to action, ECPC say:

“COVID-19 has not only had an impact on cancer patients, but it will also lead to an influx of cases in the coming years due to the lack of regular screening and the difficulties in patient adherence to treatment.” – ECPC

The current call to action includes the issue of vaccination priority for cancer patients and has three recommendations for European policy-makers:

  • “1: VACCINATE ALL CANCER PATIENTS in line with the WHO principles aiming to reduce deaths and disease burden…”
  • “2 DILIGENTLY COLLECT DATA via suitable registries, in order to monitor the effects of the vaccines in the vulnerable population, including patients with cancer and immune response monitoring”
  • “3 EDUCATE AND INSTIL CONFIDENCE among the public and patients in receiving the vaccines and provide them with up-to-date information in lay language.”
Asthma UK’s roadmap for respiratory recovery

Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation have made a series of recommendations in their strategy report: “Recovery and reset for respiratory: restoring and improving basic care for patients with lung disease.”

The report includes a number of ways digital health can help minimise emergencies, reduce backlogs and waiting lists, and re-engage patients with respiratory services.

For example, in service delivery:

“GP practices should offer a choice of video, phone, face-to-face and digital options for carrying out annual reviews with patients, considering patient preferences. 

Patients’ inhaler technique should be reviewed over video consultation or face-to-face appointment.

Everyone who would benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation should be offered options for digital, at-home and face-to-face classes.” – Asthma UK/British Lung Foundation

The patient group’s report highlights emerging best digital practice, including a suite of apps developed by NHS Wales:

  1. AsthmaHub – a self-management app for adults with asthma 
  2. AsthmaHub for parents – a management app for parents of children with asthma 
  3. COPDHub – a self-management app for people with COPD.

Since the group’s report was published, NHS Wales has just added a new app to its suite, Covid Recovery, as a support tool for adults with, or recovering from Covid-19. 


See ECPC’s view on the call to action at…

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Download the call to action supported by patient groups at…

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Download Asthma UK’s recommendations for digital health in respiratory care at…

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Visit our sister blog, and twitter #PAGC19, which brings together examples of how patient groups are supporting their patients during the pandemic at…

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