Read our latest advice to sage here (19 May)


GP data to support pandemic planning & research into COVID-19

Following the explicit support of the British Medical Association (BMA) and Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), NHS Digital have been directed to collect and analyse healthcare information within a specific set of patient data from GP practices in England during the period of the COVID-19 emergency. As of 21 May, 62% of GP practices in England are already participating.

This move will allow researchers to use this data to better identify risks and trends around COVID-19, provide guidance to develop policies to manage the virus and carry out research into possible treatments and vaccines. It is important to remember that safeguards and robust rules are still in place, as access will only be approved for those who follow the request process and require data for legitimate COVID-19 specific planning or research.

Find out more

Initial results of CovidLife survey of over 14,500 people reveals the impact of lockdown on mental health

The CovidLife survey, led by Professor David Porteous and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh and HDR UK Scotland, has published its first report based on responses from over 14,500 responses from across Scotland and the UK. The report provides insights into the impact that measures to control COVID-19 have had on people’s lives. Amongst other takeaways, the survey reveals that concerns about future employment and the economy are particularly felt by young people, and are accompanied by high levels of anxiety and depression. There were also positives for many people as well, such as having more opportunity to connect with family and friends digitally.

The CovidLife survey is still looking for further responses, particularly from UK citizens outside Scotland and from men.

Read the initial report and take part in the survey

Mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic amongst the homeless population

A team from UCL, including Dr Rob Aldridge of HDR UK London, has issued a preprint modelling the effects of providing isolated housing to homeless people during the pandemic.

The study concludes that providing supported accommodation for homeless people suffering from COVID-19 symptoms can mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the homeless population of England, and reduce the burden on acute hospitals.

Read the pre-print paper

HAPPEN-at-home study explores how children are coping with lockdown

Early results from HAPPEN-at-home study show both positive (e.g. more active, sleeping better) and negative (e.g. more screen time) effects of lockdown on children. Over 600 children have participated so far, with indications that although parents worry about children staying connected, 92% say they can stay in touch with friends, mostly by phones and gaming consoles. 90% of children also say they feel they have a space they can relax. The study is led by Professor Sinead Brophy, part of HDR UK Wales & Northern Ireland.

Find out more about the survey

Watch the video below for more information on the early findings from the survey.

More information and tools

1. Submit your research question or project– we are calling on anyone with a research question for COVID-19 that requires health data to share your ideas via our online form.
Questions will be shared in our HDR UK COVID-19 Knowledge + Skills Matchmaker. We prioritise all of the questions using a transparent and objective process to identify the questions that most urgently need to access to data. Progress of the prioritised questions is reported weekly to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

2. HDR UK GitHub repository – The HDR UK community is developing computer-based tools and methodologies to analyse and handle health data, including those that can help overcome the COVID-19 challenge. These are all shared in a central repository, which is open to the public, so that we can all learn from each other and build on each other’s work. They are shared in HDR UK’s area of GitHub.

3. COVID-19 Slack channels– researchers and innovators looking to collaborate to use health data to address the pandemic can apply to join our dedicated Slack channels. Complete the form to register your interest in joining here.

4.Take a look at our Skills + Knowledge Matchmaker to see a full list of COVID-19 ongoing projects, or visit COVID-19 page to see the latest version of HDR UK’s strategy to support efforts to tackle the pandemic.