At the beginning of February we released a new report, Disparity Begins at Home. The paper looked at the results of our survey of home workers and the mental and physical health issues they had experienced as a result of working from home throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. The survey found that nearly half of the people we surveyed thought working from home was better for their health and wellbeing and the majority of people wanted to work from home at least a couple of days a week in the future. We feel that the move to mass home working could present an opportunity for employers to rethink how and where their employees work in the future, and we made some recommendations for how the health and wellbeing of home workers can be supported.

Vaccine uptake and education

Last week we released our report, Mind the Gap: London’s low flu vaccination rates, and how to fix them. The report explored the low rates of flu vaccine uptake in London, which recent stats showed lagged behind the national average by as much as 6.6% in 2019/2020. As the Covid-19 vaccine rollout has highlighted the importance of having an effective vaccination system in place, many of the policy recommendations Mind the Gap makes are vital for ensuring sustained and increased vaccination uptake as we move past the pandemic.

Vaccinations look set to dominate the headlines and health policy for some time. Our research into COVID-19 vaccination uptake amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds has continued to be referenced by the media and shape discussions of how to encourage vaccine uptake across all communities.

Education around the benefits of vaccine uptake is incredibly important for helping young people spot misinformation about vaccines and ensure future vaccine uptake. We’re supporting vaccine education by working with the RSPH programmes team on a project to develop educational resources about vaccines.

Gambling updates and membership engagement

In gambling work news, we have begun our project with Gambling with Lives looking into the health and wellbeing impacts of different gambling products. The RSPH-led Gambling Health Alliance (GHA) also released further data as part of their #LidOnLoots campaign as we await the Government response to the DCMS consultation on loot boxes. And we are still actively engaging with GHA members to inform our response to the Gambling Act review. Throughout February we have been speaking with RSPH members through a series of focus groups, to give them the chance to shape the future of RSPH.

We also have a couple of things to look for in March - we are in the process of finalising our response to the Health Index consultation, which puts forward an index that will track the progress in improving health and health outcomes, to and beyond 2040. Working alongside our programmes team, we will be releasing a report on Community Spirit, which looks at how Covid-19 has affected the connections with our communities and how community spirit impacts our health and wellbeing.