During the COVID-19 lockdown we saw a drop in the amount of feedback we were getting via our usual channels, such as phone calls, emails or social media. With non-urgent treatments being canceled and health and social care services moving to online support as much as possible, we were anticipating a decrease in people sharing their experiences of health and social care.
To make sure we were still hearing from members of the public during COVID-19, we joined forces with Healthwatch Bath and North East Somerset and Healthwatch Wiltshire (BSW) and shared a survey across the area.
We invited people to let us know their experiences of care during this period, as well as asking an array of other questions, such as how easy was it for people to find, understand, act upon and keep up-to-date with information about COVID-19 and how the pandemic has impacted their mental health.
- The majority of people – 144 (82%) - who responded to this survey told us that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected their mental health and wellbeing, with 43 (25%) people saying that it has had a ‘significant impact’. Most people sought help from family and friends.
- A higher proportion of people found getting, understanding, acting on and keeping up-to-date with information about COVID-19 either ‘very easy’ or ‘easy’. The number of people finding it ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’, however, increased when it came to acting on and keeping up-to-date with changes.
- The topics people found most difficult getting information about were: Changes to the health care services they usually access (e.g. GP practice, pharmacy, hospital outpatient appointments, community nursing visits), testing for COVID-19 and looking after their mental health and wellbeing.
- There was positive feedback about phone and video consultations, with people saying it was quick and efficient. Conversely others felt this was not as effective as a face-to-face appointment.
- There was palpable anxiety from cancer patients and those whose loved ones had cancer about the impact that cancelled and delayed appointments will have, with one person commenting that “More deaths will be from lack [of] cancer care”
- Most people were able to get the medication that the needed, with over 60% saying they found this ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’
- For those that had received support from a local voluntary or community organisation, their experience of this had been positive and they were grateful for the help they had been given.
You can find out more about what we heard in our final report.
If you need this report in a different format, please email email@example.com or call 01793 497 777.