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Emotional intelligence, not just artificial intelligence, will be key to the NHS, say doctors

  • 81% of doctors say skilled volunteers in the NHS could help safeguard its future
  • 56% of doctors say the NHS would derive most benefit from tech-literate young volunteers who could teach patients to use new technologies
  • 36% of doctors say the NHS would benefit from skilled volunteer project managers who can play a role either implementing new IT or developing and scaling volunteer services
  • 45% of doctors say politicians should volunteer in the NHS to develop their EQ skills
  • How can organisations such as the NHS and charities benefit from a new breed of volunteer, people who bring both professional and personal skills to their volunteering role? Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England & co-founder of Pro Bono Economics, discusses volunteering and the Fourth Industrial Revolution at Pro Bono Economics’ annual lecture, Weds 22 May, at the Royal Society. 

Andy Haldane, says:
Technology will transform our future working lives and working habits.  The rise of Artificial Intelligence will put an even greater premium on interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence – EQ rather than IQ.   In this environment, people will be drawn to an even greater extent than in the past to purposeful activities which use and develop these skills.  That includes volunteering, for example in the NHS or in charities.  Doing so will enhance people’s lives and well-being, improve the effectiveness of charities and the NHS and create much-needed social capital for societies.”

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Founder and Chair of Helpforce, commented: “Realistically, the NHS can only consider deploying skilled volunteers, or increasing its volunteer base, if structures are in place to manage the process, but this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t or can’t be done.  If we can efficiently direct more front-line resource to the benefit of patients, that can only be a positive. Volunteers do not get paid for their work, and they should never be considered a replacement for frontline staff or a clinical workforce. That is why Helpforce has worked closely with health unions to deliver a new charter and establish formal boundaries between the role of a volunteer and the role of staff in our health care.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) is in the vanguard of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as technology further transforms our way of life.  At the same time economists suggest that as AI and robotics redefine traditional jobs, and as people look for new purpose in their lives, more of them are likely to volunteer.

Healthcare professionals already acknowledge the benefits of AI, machine learning and other scientific innovations that replicate human IQ (cognitive) skills, but, as new research by charity Pro Bono Economics reveals, doctors strongly believe that human EQ (emotional quotient) skills remain key to the NHS’s future.

An estimated three million volunteers are already active in the NHS and social care. And as NHS England gears up to grow its volunteer workforce from 80,000 to156,000 over the next three years1, eight in 10 (81%) GP’s and hospital doctors say it could be expanded in future to include more skilled volunteers – people who use both their professional and personal skills in their volunteer roles –  to help safeguard the NHS.2

While doctors appreciate the contribution that professional volunteers like lawyers, and economists can make, it turns out they are twice as likely to value the skills that tech-savvy young volunteers can apply to the NHS. Of the 1,000 doctors surveyed by medeConnect Healthcare Insight, over half (56%, comprising 59% of GP’s and 55% of secondary care doctors) say that the NHS would derive most benefit from tech-literate young people who could teach patients to use new technologies:  One GP from South Wales commented: “I deal with the very elderly, many of whom struggle with even basic technology.  Someone to support them to use current technologies would be the best use of volunteering.” 

Meanwhile, a third (36%) of doctors say the NHS would benefit from skilled volunteer project managers who can play a role either implementing new IT or developing and scaling volunteer services.  “Skilled volunteers need managing and that takes resources”, commented a hospital consultant from the Midlands.

Other skilled volunteer roles that doctors deem potentially beneficial for the NHS include:

  • Data analysts to work on large and complex health datasets (32%);
  • AI and robotics experts to improve productivity of staff, or to innovate in the fields of health and social benefits (31%);
  • Economists who could help NHS trusts demonstrate the societal benefit of new innovations and secure future funding from government (26%);
  • Lawyers who could help trusts and practices in developing positive strategies to reduce legal challenges against them (23%).

■ Doctors say that volunteering is beneficial to the volunteers too

Over half (51%) of doctors surveyed say that people under 25 are the group most likely to benefit from their volunteering role, as it would teach them valuable life skills and people skills. According to doctors, established professionals who would most benefit from increasing their EQ by volunteering include: politicians (45%); employees of major tech companies (23%); management consultants (22%); civil servants (16%); economists, journalists and lawyers (14%); bankers (13%), and employees from social media firms (10%).

■ The challenges of scaling-up volunteering / Helpforce’s NHS volunteer charter

Although most doctors are supportive of skilled volunteering in the NHS, some have concerns that volunteers will be used as a replacement for paid clinical staff in order to cut costs, which could compromise patient safety.

–            “Utilising skilled volunteers in the NHS will limit employing proper professional support in areas where they are desperately needed within our organisation – IT professionals, robotic engineers and economists as professionals.” Specialist registrar, Midlands.   

–            “Skilled volunteers need managing and that takes resources.”  Consultant, Midlands

–             “If skilled volunteering was managed from grassroots people, not politicians, it could be very beneficial.” Specialist registrar, North West

To address these challenges, volunteering charity Helpforce, which aims to increase the number of volunteers in the NHS, recently launched a charter showing how volunteers can make a valuable contribution to the NHS in England, without undermining paid staff or affecting patient safety.  Among the key principles enshrined in the charter are:

  • Volunteers should not undermine paid staff, with essential care tasks reserved for health employees.
  • No volunteers should be included in the workforce numbers for individual trusts and they must be clearly identified as volunteers.
  • Unions will monitor how volunteers are used within organisations, with patient safety and confidentiality the primary concern.

■ The Pro Bono Economics Annual Lecture: The Fourth Industrial Revolution – a turning point for the third sector?

In a lecture tonight (Wednesday 22nd May) at the Royal Society, marking the 10th anniversary of economics volunteering charity Pro Bono Economics (PBE), Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England and co-founder of PBE, will argue that, in the brave new world of robots, driverless trucks and automated tasks, the responsibilities of traditional jobs will be redefined. In the future, as people look for new purpose in their lives, more of them will become likely to volunteer.

Among the big questions that Andy Haldane will explore are:

  • How will society rise to the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and make the most of the opportunities that it holds?
  • How will we find the right balance between artificial intelligence and the human factor?
  • How can organisations such as the NHS and charities benefit from a new breed of volunteer, people who bring both professional and personal skills to their volunteering role?

Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England and co-founder of volunteering charity Pro Bono Economics, commented:

Technology will transform our future working lives and working habits.  The rise of Artificial Intelligence will put an even greater premium on interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence – EQ rather than IQ.   In this environment, people will be drawn to an even greater extent than in the past to purposeful activities which use and develop these skills.  That includes volunteering, for example in the NHS or in charities.  Doing so will enhance people’s lives and well-being, improve the effectiveness of charities and the NHS and create much-needed social capital for societies.”

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Founder and Chair of Helpforce, a new organisation using the power of volunteering to improve health and wellbeing, commented:

There is a huge appetite for volunteering in the NHS: over the last five months alone we have recruited 34,000 new volunteers, many of whom have valuable professional skills to bring to their volunteering roles, complementing the compassion and comfort they provide every day – whether directly or indirectly – to patients.

Volunteers do not, of course, get paid for their work, and they should never be considered a replacement for frontline staff or a clinical workforce. That is why we have worked closely with health unions to deliver a new charter and establish formal boundaries between the role of a volunteer and the role of staff in our healthcare, and to create a national standard for us all to aspire to. That being said, a volunteer might, in special circumstances, bring professional skills to the NHS which it simply might not have access to otherwise. An example of this are the IT experts who volunteered to help one NHS trust restore normality after a dramatic ransomware attack that froze computers across the health service in May 2017. The positive implications of such professional intervention, in terms both of restoring normal service and of damage limitation, are not only considerable but readily quantifiable.”

■ Innovations that have the most potential to transform the NHS

47% of doctors say that technology and genetic therapies with the capacity to cure and prevent serious medical conditions have the most potential to transform the NHS in the future.

  • Big data, such as genomic data and patient records to aid prevention, diagnosis and treatment (41%)
  • Precision and personalised medicine (36%)
  • Online consultations in secondary care to reduce patients’ need to travel to appointments for complex health conditions (32%)
  • AI and robots to aid medical diagnosis and treatment (20%)
  • AI in support of doctor learning and CPD (continued professional development) (17%)

■ Who should pay for innovation in the NHS?

When asked to rate potential funding sources for new innovations and technology in the NHS, 29% of doctors most favour a new targeted tax on internet giants, with proceeds going directly to the NHS.  24% think that the best option is for the NHS to partner with companies and universities that offer AI and technology expertise, and 26% recommend renewed efforts to cut wasteful spend.

■ Doctors views on AI & new technologies

Doctors recognise the potential that scientific and technological advances hold for transformation of the NHS, but many believe that AI and robotics should not replace clinical staff, believing that these technologies should act solely as a practical aid.  Consequently, on average, doctors say that only 26% of their job will depend on/be replaced by AI and robotics by 2030.   39% say that AI and robotics will make no difference to their working day at all, 27% think it will reduce their working hours, giving them more time to spend with patients or do related work.  While 8% say it is likely to increase the length of their working day.

  • My radiology workstation is often unable to load scans without crashing, and our software is around ten years old.  The idea of AI and robots seems distant and rather unrealistic at this stage.” Consultant, Scotland
  • AI / robots have to be used in the right place. At the end of the day they should be there to support, not replace human physicians.” Specialist registrar, Scotland
  • If we can automate admin-heavy roles and increase clinical time for clinicians through incorporating AI into NHS systems I think it will be most welcome.” Specialist registrar, North East
  • Robots and AI can carry out automated tasks and not fall sick and work 24hrs a day, and therefore be more productive. AI can be used to diagnose conditions but will not have the empathy of a human.” GP, South East
  • I’m excited about the use of AI to improve patient care and hopefully reduce the unsustainable stress of working in the NHS.” GP Partner, North West
  • AI is not a panacea. Robots need humans to run and maintain them.  They are worse than nothing when they break down.  At least humans repair themselves!”  Consultant, North West
  • There is potential for AI in a future NHS, but it needs to be carefully managed as part of a planned transformation program and not left to tech companies acting as market disruptors.” Locum GP, London
  • Robotics and automation could make a massive difference.  I think AI will fail; we do not have the data sets we need to drive it.” Specialist registrar, Midlands
  • AI may help but the only thing that can save the NHS is proper funding in order to have enough nurses and doctors to allow it to work properly as well as the money to spend on these new technologies.” GP, London
  • AI/robots will help in fields such as use of insulin pumps in diabetes (especially for data interpretation), but otherwise I think patients will continue to need human contact by doctors.” Speciality doctor, South East
  • I think this will be an important technology in future. it would reduce workload and burnout of doctors.” Speciality doctor, London
  • Ends –

For queries or interview / case study requests/regional breakdown across the UK, contact:

SENSO Communications

Penny Lukats – 07775 992350  penny@sensocommunications.com 

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the survey Survey of 1,004 doctors: 203 GPs and 801 secondary care doctors in the UK carried out by medeConnect Healthcare Insight between 26th April till 2nd May 2019

References

  1. NHS Long Term Plan https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/online-version/chapter-4-nhs-staff-will-get-the-backing-they-need/8-volunteers/
  2. Survey of 1,004 doctors: 203 GPs and 801 SCs in the UK carried out by MedeConnect Healthcare Insight between 26th April till 2nd May 2019
  3. Speech given by Andrew G Haldane, Chief Economist, Bank of England. Pro Bono Economics lecture to the Society of Business Economists, London 9 September 2014

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/speech/2014/in-giving-how-much-do-we-receive-the-social-value-of-volunteering

About Pro Bono Economics:

Pro Bono Economics helps charities and social enterprises understand and improve the impact and value of their work, matching professional economists who want to use their skills to volunteer with charities. Set up in 2009, Pro Bono Economics has helped over 400 charities large and small, covering a wide range of issues including mental health, education, employment and complex needs.

Pro Bono Economics is supported by high-profile economists, including Andy Haldane (Bank of England), Sir Dave Ramsden (Bank of England), and Clare Lombardelli (HM Treasury) as Trustees, and Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge), Kate Barker, Lord Jim O’Neill, Robert Peston, Martin Wolf and Lord Adair Turner as patrons. Lord Gus O’Donnell has been Chair of the Board of Trustees since September 2016.

probonoeconomics.com @ProBonoEcon

About Helpforce

Helpforce is using the power of volunteering to improve the health and wellbeing of people across the UK. It wants to help double the number of volunteers working in the NHS by 2021, and see a recognisable improvement in the range and quality of volunteer roles available to support patient care in hospital and at home.

  • Helpforce was formally established as a Community Interest Company in September 2017 and both its Board and Advisory Board includes leaders from across the NHS, voluntary and wider public sector.
  • www.helpforce.community
  • @help_force

 

 

PE is being squeezed out of the curriculum due to academic over-testing of children, say teachers

Lord Gus O’Donnell, chair of Pro Bono Economics, says “The rising level of inactivity among schoolchildren represents a ticking timebomb, threatening both their physical and mental health: unless something is done now, we will continue fostering a troubled generation.  We need to stop endless academic testing of children that only measures one classroom’s performance against another.  Wellbeing should be defined as a measurable target and schools made accountable for achieving it. The focus should be upon producing children who are healthier, happier and better able to make a positive economic and social contribution.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Gold medal Paralympian, parliamentarian and Chair of ukactive, says: “Currently inactivity costs the nation £20 billion a year, and every year that we put off fixing this problem it gets bigger and bigger.   What we urgently need is a joined-up government-led strategy that provides creative solutions to engage children in becoming more physically active.  We’ve already hit the bottom of the league tables on health and wellbeing – surely it’s worth raising the bar.”      

British schoolchildren are the least fit they have ever been.   Half (51%) of 11-year-old boys and just over a third (38%) of girls in England and Wales do less than two hours of vigorous physical activity a week.1 One in five (20%) 11-year-olds are obese.2

With society’s future health and wellbeing in mind, two thirds of teachers (63%) agree that children at state schools should be doing four hours of PE a week, in line with independent/private schools, new research by charity Pro Bono Economics has found.3

Unfortunately, the heavy emphasis on testing for numeracy, literacy and science, has left schools struggling to deliver even the curriculum’s modest recommendation of two hours of PE a week.  This is an ironic development in the face of evidence suggesting that a fit and active lifestyle contributes towards better performance in ‘core’ subjects.

Poor facilities and a lack of specialist teachers – the result of persistent funding constraints – have also contributed to PE’s decline, according to teachers surveyed.  As a consequence, more than half (55%) of teachers say they would prefer not to teach PE.   One said: “PE is a forgotten subject.  It is seen as an intrusion in the school day, which has become so focused on meeting ridiculous targets for numeracy and literacy.” Another commented: “Flat netballs and no pump.  We have no field and a small hall and playground. We also have little money for equipment. Teaching PE without these things is like teaching English with no books, or maths without any visual or concrete resources.”

The government has invested £320 million annually in its PE and sport provision for primary schools. In Autumn 2018, after research found that almost 20% of secondary students hated PE lessons, Sport England launched a £13.5m drive to train 17,000 teachers in delivering PE and sport in schools.

Despite these initiatives, only half (50%) of teachers in primary schools and four in ten (43%) in secondary schools say there is adequate provision for PE to support children’s health and wellbeing.  The main barriers teachers cite when it comes to satisfactory PE lessons are:

Schools’ excessive focus on pupil testing and on raising attainment in numeracy and literacy, which leaves little time for anything else, particularly in primary schools.
“PE is massively underrated due to heads being concerned about academic progress.”
In our school, many students aspire to be professional athletes, but the system doesn’t promote PE as being equivalent in value as maths or English. As someone who’s experienced depression during periods of low activity, I can’t emphasise enough how important PE is to learners.”

PE gets dropped in favour of additional lessons and tutoring.
Pupils in some schools are taken out of PE to do catch-up for other subjects, in both secondary and primary schools.”

Lack of school space, meagre facilities and poor-quality equipment render schools physically unable to deliver two hours of PE each week.
Battle for space and facilities, especially in the winter, will be a challenge for a lot of schools.  The hall is used for lunch, tests and assembly.

Non-existent teacher training
“It is only recently that primary schools have been adequately funded, but schools cannot afford the time to remove any teachers from their day-to-day duties so that training can be given. 

Many teachers lack the confidence to teach PE and sport.
“In the three years at university I only had three days of PE training.”  

Children are inhibited by body-image issues and can be put off by competitive sports.
“Outdated facilities and poor body image around changing have a huge impact on pupils’ willingness to try PE. Competitive sport is important but there should be other physical activities offered to less-sporty children, eg fitness classes, dance-style classes, yoga, Pilates, golf, table tennis, walking groups etc.”

Of the 460 primary and 380 secondary teachers questioned, most (81%) would support increasing PE lessons from two to four hours a week, but conditional upon:

i) not having to teach it (55%)
ii) an improvement in the quality of PE lessons, with additional resource for teacher training (23%)
iii) a more inclusive approach to PE, with a move away from competitive sports to engage more children (42%)

Lord Gus O’Donnell, Chair of Pro Bono Economics, the volunteering charity for professional economists, said:

“As a nation we are failing our children.  Not only do they do badly academically when compared to other developed countries, they are also at the bottom when it comes their fitness, physical and mental health, and happiness.4,5     

We need to wake up to the fact that rising levels of inactivity among schoolchildren represent a ticking timebomb for both their physical and mental health: unless something is done now, we will continue fostering a troubled generation. 

“Of course, we need stronger evidence on what we are getting right, but there is no shortage of evidence on what we are getting wrong.  We need to stop endless academic testing of children that only measures one classroom’s performance against another.  Wellbeing should be defined as a measurable target and schools should be made accountable for achieving it. The focus should be upon producing children who are healthier, happier and better able to make a positive economic and social contribution.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Gold medal Paralympian, parliamentarian and Chair of ukactive:

“Currently inactivity costs the nation £20 billion a year, and every year that we put off fixing this problem it gets bigger and bigger.   As a priority we need to improve the provision of physical activity in schools, but we also need to give all children, especially those from low-income families, the opportunity to access and enjoy physical activity outside of the school curriculum.  What we urgently need is a joined-up government-led strategy that provides creative solutions to engage children in becoming more physically active.  We’ve already hit the bottom of the league tables on health and wellbeing – surely it’s worth raising the bar.”      

Research by Pro Bono Economics shows that increased physical activity not only benefits children’s health, but improves school attendance and academic attainment.6

A Pro Bono Economics study, in conjunction with Loughborough University, on behalf of Greenhouse Sports, a London-based charity that uses sport to help young people living in disadvantaged areas of the city to realise their full potential, showed that pupils’ academic success and life chances can be improved through intensive sports coaching and mentoring.

Greenhouse Sports partners with state secondary schools with the aim of enhancing the quality of sports provision, creating opportunities for pupils to participate and excel in a range of activities that are both fun and challenging. Through this model young people develop not just physically, but also socially, emotionally and behaviourally. This is where sports in schools can play a highly valuable role in supporting the wider wellbeing of pupils at every level.

The Pro Bono Economics report, based on a study part-funded by NHS England and conducted by Loughborough University, examined data from over 700 participating pupils at four inner-city London schools. The children involved often had histories of poor attendance and academic attainment; some were on the cusp of being excluded. The findings of the report show that on average:

  • 36% of Greenhouse Sports pupils exercised for more than 60 minutes a day, a figure twice the London average of 16%.
  • Engagement with Greenhouse Sports also accounted for an average annual attendance increase of eight more days of school.
  • Greenhouse Sports participants outperformed their peers by up to a third of a grade in English and 40% of a grade in Maths. 

Greenhouse Sports’ Chief Executive, John Herriman said:

At Greenhouse Sports we believe in – and have evidence to prove – the real benefits of physical activity for young people. We know that high-quality, structured sports coaching and mentoring offers huge benefits. This survey highlights that children are not getting enough structured physical exercise and that more opportunities need to be created for young people to experience the full benefits of sports and physical activity, not just for their physical development, but for their social, emotional and behavioural development too. The evidence tells us that sports education, when delivered well, can support young people’s wider wellbeing, so it can only be a positive move to make more time for sports in schools through extra-curricular activity and increased provision of PE lessons.  If we really care about our kids, then we have to fix this problem now, before it’s too late.”  

– Ends – 

For further information, please contact:

SENSO Communications

Penny Lukats, 07775992350, penny@sensocommunications.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Pro Bono Economics:

Pro Bono Economics helps charities and social enterprises understand and improve the impact and value of their work, matching professional economists who want to use their skills to volunteer with charities. Set up in 2009, Pro Bono Economics has helped over 400 charities large and small, covering a wide range of issues including mental health, education, employment and complex needs.

Pro Bono Economics is supported by high-profile economists, including Andy Haldane (Bank of England), Sir Dave Ramsden (Bank of England), and Clare Lombardelli (HM Treasury) as Trustees, and Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge), Kate Barker, Lord Jim O’Neill, Robert Peston, Martin Wolf and Lord Adair Turner as patrons. Lord Gus O’Donnell has been Chair of the Board of Trustees since September 2016.

probonoeconomics.com

References

  1. Health Behaviour in school-aged children: Growing up unequal 2013-2014 Study
  2. NHS Digital
  3. YouGov, TeacherTrack survey, 840 teachers in the UK. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22/02/2019 – 07/03/2019.
  4. https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/research/international-comparisons-of-health-and-wellbeing-in-adolescence-and-early-adulthood
  5. http://www.oecd.org/pisa/PISA2015-students-well-being-United-Kingdom.pdf
  6. Pro Bono Economics scoping study of Greenhouse Sports, December 2017, https://www.probonoeconomics.com/news/new-report-greenhouse-sports

 

 

99% of GP’s fear that young patients will come to harm while on the waiting list for mental health services

  • 90% of GPs say that mental health services for children & young people are inadequate
  • 99% fear that these young people may come to harm while waiting to access treatment
  • 88% of GPs say it’s impossible or very difficult to access treatment for anxiety
  • To help young people manage anxiety, stem4 launches Clear Fear, a mobile phone app based on evidence-based treatment approach
  • GPs say:
  • Suicide amongst young patients appears to be on the increase. We need to have better resources to support them and their parents.”
  • “There is a complete disintegration of service provision. Patients often come to see their GP as no other services are available. I feel I should refer to CAMHS, but often do this being aware that the response they will get will be minimal, inadequate, or even rejected.” 
  • “As a GP I have personal experience of the harm coming to 11-18 year-olds due to grossly inadequate mental health services. It is a disgrace and politicians are to blame. They come out with fine words but never follow with action or funding to provide care for these vulnerable patients.
  • “CAMHS have not expanded their remit to see kids with mental health problems, although they still have the nerve to say “providing care 0-19”. Won’t see pre-school children or those over 16.”  

90% of GP’s believe that mental health services for young people aged 11-18 are inadequate and that they have deteriorated over the last two years, new research has found1.  This is up from a figure of 77% in 2016.2

Many GP’s (78%) now say they are worried that not enough of their young patients can access treatment for mental health.

Increasing numbers of young people are experiencing mental health difficulties; there are long waiting times for treatment; referral pathways are limited, and the consequence of strict eligibility criteria is that most children and young people are turned away by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Virtually all doctors (99%) fear that that these young people may come to harm while waiting for specialist mental health treatment.

The survey of 1,000 GP’s for stem4, the charity which works to prevent mental ill health in teenagers, found that 9 out of 10 GP’s (90%) are seeing more young patients with mental health problems than two years ago, while two-thirds (64%) say they find it hard to give these young patients the time they need.  Over the last two years:

  • 9 out of 10 (86%) had seen a rise in the number of patients aged 11-18 suffering with anxiety
  • 8 in 10 (81%) had seen an increase in young patients with depression
  • 7 in 10 (68%) were seeing more young patients self-harming.
  • Doctors had also witnessed an increase over the last two years in such mental health conditions as conduct disorders (54%), addiction (38%), and eating disorders (38%)

90% of GPs describe mental health services for children and young people as either extremely inadequate (37%) or very inadequate (53%).   82% said that services for the treatment of anxiety were the most inadequate; this was followed by depression (80%), self-harm (79%), conduct disorders (75%); eating disorders (69%), and addiction (67%).

When it came to help for anxiety problems, 88% of doctors said it was either impossible or very difficult for their patients to access treatment.

Emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression are among the most prevalent psychiatric disorders experienced in childhood and adolescence. Anxiety disorder rates increase with age and are more common in girls than boys. According to recent figures from NHS Digital’s survey ‘Mental health of children and young people in England 2017’, 7.2% of children aged 5 to 19 have an anxiety disorder; amongst 17 to 19-year-olds the percentage rises to 13.1% (one in eight), i.e. 20.3% of girls and 6.3% of boys.3

Since referral pathways are limited, two-thirds of doctors (68%) say they have no choice but to refer patients suffering with an anxiety disorder to CAMHS, even though they know most will be rejected.  One third (32%) now only refer patients with the most severe anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or anxiety with another mental health condition.  Even though emotional disorders are more than twice as prevalent amongst children living in lowest-income households compared to children living in highest-income households (9,0% vs 4.1%), four in ten doctors (38%) tell parents to pay for their child’s treatment if they can afford to do so.

Other alternative actions taken by GP’s when dealing with young people’s mental health:

  • 31% recommend patients contact a local charity;
  • 31% provide patients with literature on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help self-manage their condition;
  • 30% refer patients to local NHS-commissioned talking therapy services. However, most doctors reported that these services had been closed down;
  • 29% recommend they use one of the digital apps that have been approved by the NHS;
  • 13% refer patients for counselling through their GP practice;
  • 10% refer back to schools.

 

Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, founder of stem 4, and creator of ‘Clear Fear’, a new smartphone app designed to help young people manage their anxiety, said:

“Back in 2016, when stem4 last surveyed GP’s, we found that young people’s mental health services were at crisis point. Today’s figures indicate that the crisis continues unabated, and even though this Government has promised more funding, nothing much has changed, except that we now know that more children and young people have a mental health condition: one in nine between the ages of 5 and 16 today, compared to the one in ten revealed by previous research. New figures from NHS Digital (2018) now show especially worrying levels of emotional disorders (anxiety and depression) amongst young women aged 16 to 19. These now affect 22.4% of this group.”

“Head teachers are planning whole-school approaches to tackle the mental health crisis in our schools, and the government will pilot school-based mental health teams in 20% of schools across England over the next five years, but mental health resource remains elusive and progress slow.   And where we once had access to highly trained therapists in the community, able to deliver evidence-based treatments such as CBT, in many local areas these services have been cut, denying access to expert treatment.  These mental health services are particularly needed for those children and young people who present with more than one diagnosis, such as, for example, mixed anxiety and depression, or an anxiety disorder that underlies a disorder associated with substance misuse.  The results of this survey suggest that GPs faced with limited referral pathways are being forced to refer to CAMHS, knowing that their patients are unlikely to meet the treatment criteria. Alternatively, they look to other community sources, or manage within their practice using self-help.  If all else fails, they simply refer young patients back to their school to ask for help.”

stem4’s own operational evidence supports these new findings.  Over the last 18 months, 120,000 young people in the UK have sought to overcome their urge to self-harm by accessing stem4’s mobile phone app, Calm Harm. 77% of them have been unable to, or have not sought treatment. A significant number of users are female and between the age range of 16-19.”

Dr Nihara Krause and stem4 say more needs to be done on a number of different levels to support children and young people with mental ill health:

  • As a consequence of long delays in access to specialist resource, children and young people conditions worsen and are presenting with complex mental health needs. More specialist CAMHS services with high intensity specialists are urgently needed;
  • Children and young people who have been on a waiting list for help require some sort of intermediate support which can help monitor and motivate change before they access treatment.
  • Children and young people who are in the early stages of an anxiety disorder require increased access to specialist early intervention services. GPs and teachers are at the forefront of addressing this crisis and they need much more support. Dr Nihara Krause hopes that the Clear Fear app will provide children and young people with tools that can help them manage their anxiety at an early stage
  • In addition, much can be done to prevent the development of an anxiety disorder through provision of easy-to-access support in dealing with a range of anxiety symptoms. This will help alleviate distress at an earlier stage and prevent the escalation of these symptoms into a disorder

stem4 launches Clear Fear, a mobile phone app based on an evidence-based treatment approach

In the absence of effective, early face-to-face treatments for anxiety disorders and to provide help for those children and young people on waiting lists, Dr Nihara Krause’s charity stem4, has created Clear Fear, a phone app conceived for the 10.5% of young people aged 11 to 19 who need to learn to manage their anxiety.    Clear Fear is targeted at the digitally-minded young people of today, and unlike the 1000s of other health apps currently available for download, Clear Fear is based on a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) framework with design input from young people.   CBT has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders (Boettcher et al, 2013), and internet-based CBT is no less effective than face-to-face treatments in reducing anxiety and its associated symptoms (Olthius et al, 2015).   CBT is recommended by NICE as the first-line treatment for anxiety disorders.

About Clear Fear

Clear Fear provides young people with a range of ways to manage anxiety. Designed by  a clinician with ideas from young people, Clear Fear uses a cognitive behavioural framework to help users change anxious thoughts and emotions, alter anxious behaviours and calm fear responses. It also has helpful descriptions of the different ways in which anxiety becomes manifest, resources and a ‘grit box’ to boost resilience. It is recommended for young people aged 11-19 years but can be used by a younger group with the support of a parent or carer.

Clear Fear complements but does not substitute for the assessment and on-going support of a mental health professional.

Anxiety is an emotion we all feel. In many instances, it is a helpful alerting signal. Clear Fear helps users learn to separate helpful anxiety from anxiety that might be getting them down.   Users should not expect to be completely free of anxiety, because we all need a bit of anxiety!  Instead, users should aim to improve how they manage their anxiety.

Clear Fear helps in a number of different ways. It can:

  • Help you deal with your emotions through helping you to express yourself, to stay calm with the aid of breathing and mindfulness exercises, or to laugh and smile!
  • Help you to manage your worries. This can be achieved with ‘worry warriors’, which serve to change your thoughts, by putting worries away in a ‘worry box’, so that you can focus on other more productive thoughts, or by learning to solve worries one step at a time.
  • Help you to learn how to react to worries. When we are worried, we often either avoid doing things or we overdo things. The Clear Fear app helps you to make goals for change and even rewards you for success.
  • Help you manage the physical responses to anxiety. This section helps you to set exercise goals, reminds you to eat a balanced diet, helps you make time to relax, and provides some helpful tips on sleeping well, also encouraging you to set some sleep goals.

 

In addition, Clear Fear:

  • Helps you boost your resilience with some helpful tips from the ‘grit box’.
  • Gives helpful information on the different ways in which anxiety can show
  • Shows you how to create a personal ‘safety net’ – things you can think and things you can do, such as keep safe with a handy list of people you can call and emergency numbers.
  • Has an emergency section, explaining how to deal with a panic attack, and an information section with a range of resources and self-monitoring techniques to help you keep track of triggers and change.

Clear Fear has in part been funded by a Tech for Good grant from Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and by generous donations from individuals and an anonymous trust.

In 2016, Dr Krause, created Calm Harm a mobile phone app to help young people stem the urge to self-harm.   Calm Harm received NHS approval in June 2017, and since then has recorded over 900,000 downloads. After using the app, 93% of users reported that the urge to self-harm had declined.     Calm Harm has won several awards and has been featured in the London Design Museum.  The highest number of users of the app are female with 41% between the ages of 15-19. Given this is the age when emotional disorders such as anxiety rise in girls, it is hoped that Clear Fear will provide much- needed help and support. This is further confirmed by user feedback on Calm Harm where many have written in to say they are using Calm Harm to help them manage anxiety. If this is the case, then Clear Fear will help target their symptoms even more specifically. For more information, please visit www.stem4.org.uk.

Clear Fear and Calm Harm are available for free on Apple and Google Play.  Following an independent evaluation of Calm Harm as part of the National Information Board app endorsement process, the app has been available for download on NHS Choices since July 2017.  Follow Calm Harm and Clear Fear on Twitter and Instagram @calmharmapp, @clearfearapp and Facebook.com/calmharm or Facebook.com/clearfear

  • Ends –

Notes to editors

Contact

For queries or interview / case study requests/regional breakdown across the UK, contact:

Senso Communications

Penny Lukats – 07775 992350 penny@sensocommunications.com

References 

  1. Survey of 1,000 regionally representative GP’s across the UK carried out by MedeConnect Healthcare Insight between 14th and 28th November 2016. Last accessed 18.12 18
  2. Survey of 300 GP’s across the UK, A Time Bomb Waiting to Explode, May 2016 https://stem4.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/A-Time-Bomb-Waiting-to-Explode.pdf. Last accessed 18.12.18
  3. NHS Digital’s survey ‘Mental health of children and young people in England 2017’, MHCYP 2017: Emotional disorders – Tables. Last accessed 18 12 18

A sample of the 622 comments received from the doctors surveyed:

  • “There is just a complete disintegration of service provision, and patients often come to see their GP as no other services available. I feel I should refer to CAMHS but often do this being aware that the response they will get will be minimal, inadequate – or even rejected.”
  • “Under-resourced – CAMHS are overwhelmed”
  • “There are no other services locally except CAMHSs, which is very poor and no IAPT services like in adults, which is needed for children with competition for services.”
  • “Almost impossible to get people seen locally by CAMHS unless in the very severe end of the spectrum of illness.”
  • “Extremely frustrating, there is a lack of options for most mental health issues affecting young people. Suffering for the patient and family is increased and in some cases deterioration to more severe problems is inevitable.”
  • Referrals get bounced all over the place and then rejected. This all takes months, and in the meantime, the patients’ condition worsens.  The provision is very limited.”
  • “CAMHS are not interested unless the patient is suicidal. It seems there is a massive gap in support for this age group. They also discharge patients as soon as they are 18. It’s really sad as GPs are sometimes under qualified to deal with often very complex issues in this age group and feel helpless when a CAMHS referral is turned down. It is an age group we struggle to prescribe in without experience. Often these patients will be under safeguarding or have social issues too. It would be good if there was a one stop shop for them.”
  • “I don’t think the services had planned for this explosion in anxiety disorders and are not equipped to handle the workload and the flashback is to us making us GP’s more frustrated and the NHS look inadequate. I am embarrassed when I have to ask them to go privately but if they love their children, that’s the fastest way to get 1. a diagnosis and 2. treatment. We need telephone/skype triage by a qualified consultant conversant in the different manifestations of the condition in children (a lot of people assume it presents in same way as adults but doesn’t) that can be done within 2 weeks max to identify the patient’s needs and signpost them. sounds like a waste of resources? not really as if you get it right in the beginning then the pressure is spread through ALL the services.  The Government needs to VERY QUICKLY commission charities like MIND and SAMARITANS to be able to take on 11-18-year olds.  They are being discriminated in service provision in the 21st century and no one thinks that is wrong and should be corrected IMMEDIATELY.  A parent told me that she feels more secure getting treatment as an adult in the NHS than her child and its true.  They are being streamlined”
  • “Social media has huge negative impact so feel big companies should do more to help.”
  • “CAMHS do their best to dodge any referral that isn’t “PROPER MENTAL ILLNESS”. They have not expanded their remit to see kids with mental health problems although they still have the nerve to say “providing care 0-19”. Won’t see pre-school children or those over 16.
  • “School send parents to GP and CAMHS decline the referral advising GP to refer to school.”
  • “Services in my area (North) such as waiting time and resources are appalling.”
  • “Need shorter waiting times for access to talking therapies.”
  • “The delay is awful only the very severely affected are seen and then too little too late. Patients are usually left to suffer, self-harm, or just get worse because they go to local ED and get lots of tests and maybe admitted and just wound up by a health system that cant view the person as a whole, they self harm and there’s no time to deal with it in ED, and they get patched up and sent home, may get a referral, but CAMHs will find a reason why they are not bad enough to be seen, and the cycle continues.  It’s an unfolding heart- breaking tragedy.”
  • “Those aged 15-17 seem to have the least options available – too old for paediatric, too young for adult services.”
  • “Locally we have a single point of access to CAMHS. Vast majority of young people signposted to voluntary sector.”
  • “I feel very uncomfortable as I have limited resources to deal with this cohort of patients who are very vulnerable.”
  • “Under resourced and over stretched. Especially difficult accessing for 17yr olds -feeling they are waiting so can pass onto adult services.”
  • “There is no provision of counselling or CBT for children in the same way there is for adults, the only option is to refer to CAMHS – when the referral is either rejected or the patient would wait 6 months or more to be seen.”
  • “Support for children with mental health is becoming appalling due to lack of funding and people available to help. Referrals are constantly being rejected with little or no other places to refer children to. Patients, parents and GPs are stuck between a rock and a hard place!”
  • “Suicide amongst young patient’s appears to be on the increase. We need to have better resources to support them and parent’s/guardians.”
  • “I am very concerned about the mental health of todays younger children and adolescents. The provisions for their services are very poor and difficult to refer / obtain advice, with very lengthy waiting times (> 18 months in some cases).  This is not acceptable.”
  • “As a GP I have personal experience of the harm coming to 11-18-year olds due to grossly inadequate MH services. It is a disgrace and politicians are to blame. They come out with fine words but never follow with action or funding to provide care for these vulnerable patients.”
  • “Needs more funding we can’t drive all this awareness about mental health then when people consult tell them there is nothing unless they are about to harm themselves significantly or someone else!”
  • “I feel somewhat cynical about the current Government’s attempts to tackle mental health problems in young people. In my professional experience, I have found their promises on funding services properly to be empty or simply inadequate.”

About stem4

stem4 is a Wimbledon-based, award-winning charity that supports teenage mental health through mental health promotion. It provides evidence-based mental health education, builds resilience, enhances motivation to change and signposts the way to early intervention. stem4 focuses on commonly occurring mental health issues in teenagers, including eating disorders, anxiety, depression, self-harm and addiction. The charity works with students, parents and teachers in secondary schools, and with health professionals such as GPs and school nurses through its conference programme and through digitally-delivered workshops suitable for PHSE in schools. stem4 is also included in the Royal College of GP toolkit.

Award-winning film confronts attitudes to ME

Award-winning film confronts attitudes to ME

An award-winning film exploring the experiences of people with ME arrives in the UK amidst signs that the medical community is rethinking its approach to the illness.

An estimated 250,000 people in the UK live with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  An estimated one in four of them is bed-bound. However, the disease receives little research funding, and recommended treatments on the NHS are often ineffective.

 

Unrest, an award-winning documentary telling the stories of people with ME, is released in UK cinemas on 20th October. It arrives amidst signs that the UK healthcare community is rethinking its approach to the illness.  The current recommended treatments – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Graded Exercise Therapy – are ineffective or harmful for many patients and based on a 2011 trial that has been widely criticised by academics.  Following years of campaigning by patient groups, and an Early Day Motion signed by 30 MPs, NICE recently announced a full review of its guidance on diagnosis and treatment.

 

The film is the project of  Jennifer Brea, who was working on her PhD at Harvard when she suffered a series of sudden viral infections that left her incapacitated and doctors baffled. Bedbound, often in excruciating pain, and frustrated that medicine seemed to have little to offer, she began looking for answers.

 

Aiming to give her doctors the chance to see what she was going through when she was too unwell to visit them she turned a camera on herself.  But she also reached out online to other ME patients online and discovered a hidden world of millions confined to their homes and bedrooms.

 

One was Jessica Taylor-Bearman from Kent who became ill just before her 15th birthday.  She has spent a decade largely bed-bound and lives with constant pain and fatigue.  Having received several different diagnoses, she says she feels let down by a system that has not always believed her illness is real: “The UK isn’t set up at all to deal with ME. It’s awful.  The problem is that we’re left in the community, and because we’re stuck at home, people don’t see the full picture of what we’re suffering.  People go missing.  It‘s like falling off the edge of the earth – you’re suddenly gone.

“I’ve experienced a lot of stigma, especially when I was at my most vulnerable and people thought I was putting it on. It’s very hurtful to not be believed. If it was that simple we would all be better and not be in ill in bed.”

Dr Charles Shepherd, Medical Adviser to the ME Association said: “For years, ME patients have had to live not only with a debilitating condition, but also stigma and misunderstanding.  The NHS is woefully equipped to support them, and the current recommended treatments are based on a study that was severely flawed. It feels we may be approaching a turning point, and I hope this film will be another catalyst for change.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Unrest premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival where it received the Special Jury Award for Editing. It will have its UK theatrical release on October 20 in London and cities nationwide, followed by a Q&A tour with director Jennifer Brea.
  2. View more about ‘Unrest’ at: http://www.unrest.film/

 

“Give us goal posts, not gold medals”

Britons would forego Team GB Olympic gold
in favour of better access to sport for all

sport-659573_1280

  • Only 7% of Britons have been inspired by the Olympics to take up a sport, according to a new survey this week. Most say it’s too expensive, facilities are poor or non-existent, or they don’t have the time or confidence.
  • Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson says: “Unless we look more creatively about how we engage everyone in physical activity, we may win medals but we will be bottom of the league table on health and wellbeing.”
  • Author and journalist Simon Kuper, says: “Instead of obsessing about who is the next England football manager, let’s spend that energy creating places for people to play sport near their homes.”

UK Sport recently announced record funding of up to £345m to take us on “the journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond”, but a new survey has found that most Britons would forego medal wins at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in favour of better access to sports facilities in the UK, enabling many to participate in sport – not just the elite few.

Rather than prioritising Olympic gold, the public would like to see government sports funding channelled into: more community sports centres and making entrance fees more affordable (18%); the reinstatement of school and public playing fields (14%) lost in the mass sell-off since the 80s; support for local grassroots sports and fitness initiatives (14%), and improved physical exercise in schools (13%).

By contrast, only 4% of the population backed UK Sport’s funding strategy for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which puts the emphasis on “more medals and medallists to inspire the nation”. This aspiration is judged less valuable than initiatives – such as ‘This Girl Can’ – which target people who don’t do enough exercise (9%) and sporting activities which engage the disadvantaged (5%).  A further 12% of people said priority for sports funding in the UK should not lie in any specific area, while 10% had no view on the subject.

All these findings emerge from a survey commissioned by charity Pro Bono Economics, which on 27th February at the Royal Institution hosts its annual lecture, given by author and journalist Simon Kuper. He will ask: “Has Britain got sport upside down?”

Olympic feats might inspire, but lack of sports facilities and high costs continue to impede nationwide take-up of Olympic sports

After the British athletes’ performance at Rio in 2016, achieving a record haul of 130 medals in the main games, the UK is now considered an Olympic superpower; yet only 7% of the 2,000 respondents to the YouGov survey had been inspired by the Olympics to take up a particular sport.  The five sports most favoured by those who did were cycling (27%), swimming (27%), athletics (19%), tennis (10%), and football (9%).

It is not, however, a lack of interest in sport that stops others from participating, but expense (17%), a lack of local facilities (12%), or local facilities that are of poor quality (6%).    Almost one in five (18%) respondents blamed their busy lifestyle, and just over one in ten (12%) said they lacked the confidence to participate in sport.  Nearly one third of people said they had no interest in the Olympics.

By contrast, in a separate survey of leading experts from sport, economics, health and the media, no respondents blamed the poor take-up of sports on any failure of Olympic athletes to inspire the nation.  They said it resulted from: our busy lifestyles young people prioritising academic achievement over exercise (27%); a lack of affordable local sports facilities (19%); poor diet and lifestyle (19%) and a deep-rooted culture of disinterest in sport and exercise UK (18%).

Simon Kuper, co-author of Soccernomics and Financial Times columnist, who is giving the Pro Bono Economics lecture, commented:

“These findings support my theory that Britain really has got sport upside down. Why spend billions on an Olympics when few kids in the country have the facilities to play judo, fencing or equestrianism anywhere near their homes? In many neighbourhoods it’s hard even to find a decent football field. The sell-off of school playing fields in the Thatcher/Major years did terrible damage to British sport.”

“Instead of obsessing about who is the next England football manager, let’s spend that energy creating places for people to play sport near their homes. It would be a strategy to increase national health, happiness and sense of community, to fight crime – and maybe even to improve the England football team.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Gold medal Paralympian, parliamentarian and television presenter, will join Simon Kuper in a panel discussion after his lecture. She added:

“In the UK we like to think we are a nation that loves sport, but perhaps we are more of a nation who loves watching sport.  We know there is a disconnect between elite sport and participation.  Currently inactivity costs the nation £20 billion a year so this is not something we can keep putting off. Unless we look more creatively about how we engage everyone in physical activity, we may win medals but we will be bottom of the league table on health and wellbeing.”

Professor Diane Coyle, author and Professor of Economics, University of Manchester, who will chair the lecture and the subsequent discussion, commented:

“The 2012 Olympics in London were inspirational but there is no point in inspiring people if they can’t follow up on it. What the survey suggests is an unmet public appetite for better access to affordable facilities, serving a wider range of sports than just football. The benefits of greater participation in health and well-being could be significant.”

The findings quoted come from a YouGov survey of 2,000 people, carried out in preparation for Pro Bono Economics’ annual lecture. The event will bring together renowned experts from sports, health, economics, and the media at The Royal Institution of Great Britain at 7pm on Monday 27th February.  Together, they will explore challenging questions on the relationship between sport, public health and the economy in Britain today.

Professor Diane Coyle will then host a panel discussion and invite contributions from audience. Simon Kuper will be joined on the panel by:

· Baroness Tanni GreyThompson, Paralympian, parliamentarian and TV presenter

· Mark Gregory, EY’s Chief Economist for the UK & Ireland; his work has quantified the economic and social impact of sport institutions, including the Rugby World Cup 2015 and English Premier League.

· Will Watt, founder of Jump; providing expertise in policy evaluation, impact analysis and behaviour change in sport and volunteering.

Pro Bono Economics, established in 2009 by Martin Brookes (Tomorrow’s People) and Andy Haldane (Bank of England), is a charity that matches professional economists, working as volunteers or on a voluntary basis, with charities and social enterprises that want to understand and improve their impact and value. This event is generously supported by Nomura (www.nomura.com) and Weil (www.weil.com). There are a limited number of free tickets still available. To register online: www.probonoeconomics.com/news/has-britain-got-sport-upside-down.

Has Britain got sport upside down? Pro Bono Economics annual lecture

Royal Institution, Monday 27th February 2017, registration at 7pm,

Professor Diane Coyle hosts an evening with Simon Kuper, Financial Times columnist and author, at the Royal Institution; Mayfair

crowdandscreen
Panellists include
Baroness Tanni GreyThompson, Paralympian, Crossbench Peer and Mark Gregory, EY’s Chief Economist for the UK & Ireland

Every gold medal won at the Rio Olympics cost the UK an estimated £5.5 million. However, the average UK citizen in 2017 will do less than 30 minutes of exercise each week.

Every fortnight, the government sells off a school playing field to a corporate household name. Meanwhile, childhood obesity and mental illness in teenagers continue to rise with a growing burden on the public purse.

There are a limited number of free tickets for this event. Suggested donation to Pro Bono Economics is minimum £10.

Register via Eventbrite

Simon Kuper, author of “Soccernomics” and Financial Times columnist, will look at why investment in British sport has become so polarised. Drawing on Simon’s extensive knowledge of the UK sports industry, the evening is set to ask some challenging questions on the link between sport, public health and the economy in 2017.

  • Can we justify spending an estimated £5.5 million on each gold medal won at the Rio Olympics when few kids in the UK have facilities for activities such as judo, fencing or equestrianism anywhere near their homes?
  • The sell-off of school playing fields in the Thatcher/Major years did terrible damage to British sport. Instead of obsessing over who will be the next England football manager, let’s spend that energy creating places for people to play sport near their homes. Such a strategy would increase national health, happiness and sense of community, fight crime – and maybe even improve the England football team.

Examining Simon Kuper’s themes further, Professor Diane Coyle (University of Manchester) will host a panel discussion and invite contributions from the audience.

Simon Kuper will be joined on the panel by:

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Gold medal Paralympian, parliamentarian and television presenter.

Mark Gregory, EY’s Chief Economist for the UK & Ireland; his work has quantified the economic and social impact of sport institutions, including the Rugby World Cup 2015 and English Premier League.

Will Watt, founder of Jump: expertise in policy evaluation, impact analysis and behaviour change in sport and volunteering.

The event will be followed by a drinks and canapés reception.

Pro Bono Economics is a registered charity, which relies on philanthropic donations (charity no.1130567). Learn more at: www.probonoeconomics.com/donate-now

BBC Radio 1 in just seven months – can millennials break through by breaking current social rules of the music business

From bedroom to BBC Radio 1 in just seven months

Bud’s debut single ‘City Bird’ hits BBC Radio 1 on Friday 22nd July

bud

·         City Bird, by Bud, available to stream now exclusively at https://soundcloud.com/ budofficial

·         Available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer etc. from Friday 22nd July

·         Help make Bud’s City Bird fly by tweeting @BBCR1 with the hashtag #citybird 

·         Watch Bud on  https://goo.gl/VWz99H

Up-and-coming Nottingham singer-songwriter Bud, as yet unsigned to a record label, will see her debut single ‘City Bird’ join the BBC Radio 1 playlist from Friday 22nd July.  She follows the likes of Jake Bugg, Izzy Bizu, Tom Odell and Jack Garratt, who all received their first Radio 1 plays by uploading their music to BBC Introducing.  Every week, Radio 1 features an up-and-coming artist from the BBC Introducing world.

Bud’s first single ‘City Bird’ was taken from her 5-track debut EP of the same name and will be available to download from Friday 22nd July. Its journey started back in November 2015 when Bud, together with local producer Origin One and her younger brother, recorded and produced the cheeky pop-reggae track in her brother’s bedroom. Following a successful £2,000 crowd-funding round on Kickstarter she was able to make her very first music video and threw her first EP launch party. (See story and review here: http://goo.gl/UyHfHG) She uploaded the track to BBC Introducing, where – to her surprise – City Bird was given airtime by BBC East Midlands DJ, Dean Jackson.  Dean then sent it on to the BBC Radio 1 London team and supported her track.

It has taken Bud and ‘City Bird’ just seven months to go from bedroom to BBC Radio 1, but the 22-year-old’s journey as a singer-songwriter has not been exactly straightforward, and a record deal has so far eluded her.  In an industry where, even to merit consideration by labels, an artist’s social media following is of paramount importance, she realistically needs a baseline of 10,000 + followers on Facebook.

If you like Bud’s track,  tweet #CityBird @BBCR1 and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @budofficial.

Bud’s Journey
Bud started writing in her bedroom when she was 14 and began performing live three years ago.   She said:

“My mum wanted me to become a lawyer or doctor, but I knew that only music could make me happy, so I got a place at Leeds College of Music. They gave me a grilling and I was told that my voice had too many ‘issues.’ I found the criticism hard to digest … It made me doubt my ability and I lost confidence as a musician. So I quit before my first year finished and signed up to study Nutritional Sciences at the University of Nottingham. I was bitterly disappointed with myself for giving up so easily, and I’ve now promised myself that I will never quit music again! Once I returned to my bedroom, I started to write music again as it was the only thing which could heal my bruises. I found the courage I lost and I stopped comparing myself to other musicians and trying to conform to other people’s ideas of what music should sound like, or just following what’s ‘in.’  I think that’s when I really found my sound.”

Bud, who says she’s been inspired by strong independent artists such as Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, Paolo Nutini and Corrine Bailey Rae, added:

“I’m so chuffed to have made it to the BBC Radio 1 playlist and have my single played alongside established pop acts.  I hope the BBC Radio 1 audience will connect with my pop-reggae fusion sound and with my lyrics, which I try to make intelligent enough to tackle difficult topics. But more than that, I just want to use this incredible opportunity to deliver my message of love and positivity to those who have ever doubted themselves.  The internet might have changed the way we consume music, but for an upcoming artists like me, radio, and particularly the BBC, is still so important. ”

–   Ends –

For further information, interviews, live performances, and images, please contact Senso Communications:

Ella Sage, 07775992350, ella@sensocommunications.com

 

Help make Bud’s City Bird fly

CITY BIRD, her debut five-track EP can be streamed for free until the 22nd July on SoundCloud. After which it will become available for download via online retailers.

To show your support:

·         Tweet @BBCRadio1 and #CityBird or text in to the show.

·         Follow her on Twitter: @budofficial https://Twitter.com/ budofficial #CityBird #MakeCityBirdFly

·         Like Bud’s Facebook page: https://facebook.com/ budofficial

·         Follow her on Instagram: @budofficial https://Instagram.com/ budofficial

·         YouTube: https://goo.gl/VWz99H  – Share her official video and subscribe to her channel

·         Shazzam the single on your smartphone

·         Stream online

·         Download from iTunes

Next Gig

Thursday 28th July, Prince of Wales, 467 Brixton Road, London

City Bird – Bud ft. Origin One will be first aired on Radio 1 from Friday 22nd July and featured on the online playlist a week prior.  The track will then be played on the following BBC Radio 1 shows:
Saturday 23rd July         Alice Levine 1300-1600
Sunday 24th July           Dev 0600-1000
Monday 25th July          Clara Amfo 1000-1300
Tuesday 26th July         Greg James 1600-1900
Wednesday 27th July     Adele Roberts 0400-0630
Thursday 28th July        Scott Mills 1300-1600

 

What’s in it for me? – The most important question in the referendum campaign

The referendum campaign demonstrates the importance of understanding the needs of your audience, writes Steve Harman, Director of SENSO Communications

We love a good election campaign at SENSO Communications. As passionate believers in the value of live debate – where the audience can hear the arguments in person and participate directly — we’ve been attending every EU referendum event we can.

They tend to follow a similar template. At the start, everyone is asked to hold up either a green card for ‘In’ or a red one for ‘Out’. The idea is to see if the balance of opinion shifts after the panellists have slugged it out. Invariably, no minds are changed – there’s always a majority of green cards both before and after the discussion. That’s because the kind of people who go to these things, particularly in London, tend to be middle class, university-educated professionals – exactly the demographic most likely to vote Yes.

The reality is that such events, enjoyable as they are, will have little or no impact on the result of the referendum. The real battle is being fought in the media (‘the air campaign’ as lovers of dramatic military metaphors like to call it) and on doorsteps (‘the ground campaign’).

The main weapon being deployed by both sides is the statistic. Many of these can be categorised as ‘extremely big number’ statistics, like “Being in the EU is worth £91 billion to our economy” or on the other side “We hand over more than £350 million a week to the EU.”

But the other, and more important, kind of figure is the one that speaks to you, the individual voter, directly. Initially it seemed that the Remain campaign was doing a far better job of generating these. The claim that dominated the early stages of the debate was that a vote for Brexit would leave every household £4,300 worse off. Not only that, they said, but the value of our homes would go down, we’d pay a fortune to use our mobiles abroad, and the football teams we support would lose their best players.

But more recently, the ‘Out’ side has been gaining traction with its own versions of these ‘what it means for you’ stories. Immigration is criticised because of the effect it has “on ordinary people.” Boris Johnson has told Sun readers that leaving the EU would scrap £60 of VAT on their fuel bills. Another claim is that European judges are forcing the UK to make huge tax refunds to multinationals – to the tune of £270.43 per household. Arguably the recent boost to the Brexiteers’ polling fortunes reflects the fact that they’ve started doing a better job of deploying these “in your pocket” figures.

Because no matter how spurious or impossible to verify these factoids are, they’re extremely effective. Recent research found that ‘Remain’ had a 19% lead in the polls if voters were told they’d be £500 better off staying in. If they were told their incomes would be unaffected the Out campaign led by 9%. That’s a staggering insight into what motivates voters. For a very large number of people, this referendum isn’t a battle of ideas or a contest for the future of British sovereignty – it’s a question of which outcome is most likely to hit them in the pocket.

That’s entirely understandable in the current economic climate. But it also says something about the UK’s pragmatic democratic culture – we’re less likely to respond to grand sweeping arguments about visions of the country’s future than we are to changes that affect us in ways we can notice – however small.

There’s a lesson here for communications professionals as well as politicians: know who you want to reach and what they care about. Whether they’re journalists, consumers, or businesses, give them information that’s interesting and meaningful to them. It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many PR practitioners don’t seem to get it, producing press releases full of dull information about the client, but nothing that matters to the target audience.

Ultimately, the referendum campaign will be won by whichever side does a better job of cutting through to what’s important to voters. One of the most valuable things any communicator can do is put themselves in the shoes of the audience and ask ‘What’s in it for me?’