During these unprecedented times health and social care services have had to quickly reconfigure their services. COVID-19 has changed the way people access services and it has changed the way health and social care staff support service users.
Healthwatch County Durham’s aim in conducting this research was to find out more about people’s experiences of using health and social care services during the COVID-19 lockdown. We wanted to find out what has worked well and what could work better in order to influence future service improvements.
As a result of social distancing measures the survey was primarily available online. A total of 257 surveys were completed and the findings in this report are based on their responses.
What people told us
- In relation to finding advice or information about COVID-19, 112 people found it easy, 64 found it very easy. Fifteen people found it difficult with 7 finding it very difficult. The most popular way to find advice and information was online via national websites eg Government, NHS. Thirteen people with additional communication needs were not able to find advice and information in the appropriate format or language.
- Of the respondents who had accessed a health or social care service during lockdown, 177 had a telephone consultation. Although only a few respondents had a video consultation 156 of them thought that they should be offered in the future.
- Many respondents experienced change or disruption to their services or treatments during lockdown, with 91 experiencing significant changes, 89 experiencing minor changes and 45 experiencing no changes. In addition 123 respondents had planned health and social care services cancelled as a result of COVID-19.
- When asked about mental health wellbeing 153 stated that they ‘have had ups and downs of experiencing both good and negative emotions’, 67 people ‘felt generally happy most of the time’; 131 respondents didn’t feel the need to access any mental health support whilst 96 respondents accessed support from family and friends.
- When asked why people hadn’t used health and social care services during lockdown, 56 people had their appointment postponed due to COVID-19, 38 thought their problem could wait until services were back to normal, 30 didn’t want to bother services as they were so busy with COVID-19, 27 were worried about catching COVID-19.
My GP surgery was proactive in contacting me as soon as a cancelled service was reinstated