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Social Impact Briefing | WHO warning, struggling charities and NHS surcharge

Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization | Shape History, the social impact communications agency

This week our Social Impact Briefing highlights the risk to children from disrupted health services, the issues facing charities, and the government U-turn on the NHS surcharge.


Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization | Shape History, the social impact communications agency

| Children at risk from disrupted immunisation services 

The WHO, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance are among a host of international organisations to voice major concerns over the impact of disruptions to domestic immunisation services. They have warned that 80 million children under the age of one are at risk of contracting diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. 

According to data collected by these organisations, 68 countries have now  experienced problems with their routine immunisation services as a result of the crisis. Last week, the WHO published new guidance to support countries implementing mass vaccination campaigns in the context of Covid-19, with further recommendations due at the Global Vaccine Summit on June 04.

The crisis has also raised a number of challenges when responding to non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes. Disrupted access to medication, equipment and health care have all impeded low and middle-income countries from maintaining their health services. Last week, the WHO received its first ever donation for a non-communicable disease, as Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk donated insulin and glucagon to the value of $1.3 million. The WHO have earmarked 50 low and middle income countries as urgent recipients of this donation. 


| 10% of charities likely to close by November

Charity responses to PBE & Civil Society Media Survey
Credit: Pro Bono Economics

Research conducted by Pro Bono Economics has shown that 10% of UK charities expect to cease operations by November this year leading to ‘significant consequences for vulnerable individuals and for the wider UK economy’. For many, ever-increasing demand has hit at the worst time, with 95% of charities expecting a reduced income as a result of Covid-19 and over a quarter anticipating revenue to be halved compared to pre-crisis expectations. 

Although Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced £150 million in funding for charities to top-up the £750 million announced by the Chancellor in April, many charity leaders have pointed out that this is still a fraction of the £4.6 billion anticipated losses the sector faces.

In response to the bleak outlook, a coalition of mental health charities has launched The Mental Health Sustainability Fund, aimed at raising funds to support mental health services. The coalition, made up of charities including Mind, Samaritans, and the Mental Health Foundation, hopes to raise £5 million in donations and one million minutes in volunteering time to help charities deliver vital mental health support during the crisis.


| NHS surcharge scrapped for migrant workers

NHS surcharge scrapped for migrant workers | Shape History, the social impact communications agency

After a public backlash, the government has dropped part of the immigration bill it had passed through the House of Commons two days earlier. The part in question was the inclusion of the NHS visa surcharge for migrant NHS workers. Originally part of the immigration bill, the surcharge (up this year from £400 to £624) received broad media attention and a public backlash that included Conservative MPs, peers and the former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in addition to video appeals from NHS staff.

The surcharge is now due to be removed for all NHS staff, including health workers, porters and cleaners, as well as independent health workers and social care workers – many of whom are on minimum wage salaries. Doctors, nurses and paramedics are also included, but were part of an existing one-year exemption of the surcharge.


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| The Great Adaptation’s 2nd instalment

The Great Adaptation Series

On Thursday, we hosted our second Great Adaptation discussion focusing on how the NGO community can build a new narrative to re-engage the UK public with international development and overseas aid. Our panel of social impact leaders looked at the pressing issues together with new-thinking and potential solutions that could be adopted to ensure a healthier humanitarian ecosystem beyond the pandemic. 

The panel –  including Andrew Griffiths from Sightsavers, Martha Mackenzie of UNICEF, and Vishnee Sauntoo of Age International – joined Ed Fletcher, Co-MD at Shape History to discuss the response, recovery, and reimagination of a post-Covid development outlook. Unprecedented international cooperation, the opportunity of rebuilding trust in the sector, and the role of the SDGs were all covered in an insightful conversation. Later this week, we’ll be publishing our round up of the discussion – watch this space. .

| Best of Mental Health Awareness Week

As we discussed in last week’s Social Impact Briefing, the 18-24 May was Mental Health Awareness Week. To celebrate this year’s theme of kindness, here is our favourite video of the week from the Mental Health Foundation:

Shape History is a social impact communications agency. We nurture purpose-led institutions, charities, campaigning groups and social impact leaders with strategic design and communication to accelerate social impact.

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COVID-19NCDsNHS surchargePro Bono Economics
Jack Maycock

Jack Maycock

Jack joined Shape after spending a number of years as a Corporate Press Officer at Ford Motor Company. Throughout his time there he led the PR on national and international social change campaigns around mental health and road safety. Jack’s degree in International Relations forms the basis of his interest in human rights and climate change, while also being passionate about positive mental health. He joins as a Strategy Lead at Shape History, working across multiple projects.

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