Lower the Baseline came to life after a conversation between a group of medical and public health colleagues who felt that the COVID-19 crisis offered an opportunity to think broadly about protecting NHS services through public health interventions.  In only a few days that thought had been shared via a BMJ Opinion piece and was leading letter in the Times newspaper. We set up a Twitter handle @lower_baseline which attracted over 100,000 impressions in a week and have now set up this site to serve as a hub for campaigners and academics to push for bold preventative policies that reduce acute healthcare demand. 

The intention behind Lower the Baseline is to create a space that explores ambitious public health interventions to lower the rates of admission to intensive care units and other over-stretched departments in the healthcare system. We do this by: 

  • identifying what these interventions could be by taking inspiration from places that are implementing emergency measures
  • Supporting groups lobbying for change at a national and international level through media and political interventions  

Some names behind the project, and what has inspired them to get involved: 

Dr Sunil Bhopal, Academic Clinical Lecturer, Newcastle University  – @sunilbhop
“In addition to the hugely important testing and contact tracing for COVID-19, and massive increases in critical-care capacity. we have opened a discussion via www.lowerthebaseline.org with the aim of supporting application of the best available evidence to political decision making for bold emergency public health legislation to protect individuals, the population at large and the NHS in the face of the impending COVID-crisis” 

Guppi Kaur Bola, Public health researcher and strategist – @guppikb
“Every day, communities across the UK access the NHS for illnesses that are unfair and avoidable. During this crisis, admissions from non-COVID related chronic-diseases risk impacting the most marginalised in society, many of whom have been stripped of much of their security and welfare infrastructure. Health behaviours are often not the origin of poor health, but the end point of a long chain of causes and consequences in people’s lives. We urgently need equitable public health interventions that support these communities to live longer in good health, both now and as future measures”

Dr Rob Hughes, Clinical Research Fellow at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – @r_hughes1
“We all must do everything we can to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 epidemic while also rapidly scaling up hospital capacity. At the same time, we need to not miss opportunities to reduce the demands on NHS emergency services through implementing policies which we know work to keep people safe and out of over-stretched hospitals. These deserve urgent attention across the Government.”

Dr. Anand Bhopal, PhD candidate at the University of Bergen in Norway – @abhopal_1
“Tackling COVID-19 requires a truly collective effort. All of us can play a part through looking after our own health, and those close to us, and reducing our risk of accidents to help relieve pressure on our frontline health care services. ”