Accessing health and social care during COVID-19: A Somerset perspective

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Somerset undertook research into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people’s experience of health and social care.  They undertook a survey, did a Facebook poll and gathered feedback.  They spoke to 429 people during the period 3 April to 30 September 2020.

There has been much praise for the NHS and local organisations providing care and support to those most in need, however there was also a feeling of not wanting to burden the system.

Online appointments and consultations were welcomed but ‘one size does not fit all’.

There was appreciation for the service received by pharmacies in maintaining medication levels, however long waits to collect prescriptions at the start of lockdown were reported.

An uncertainty about when dental treatment will resume and the lack of clear information about where to access treatment in an emergency has created concerns.

People were happy to continue to use hospital services through lockdown and feel happy to attend face-to-face appointments.

Voluntary and community schemes such as the Village Agents have been a lifeline for those isolating at home and needing support

Most people were able to access a Covid-19 test at a location within a 10 mile radius.

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General details

Report title 
Accessing health and social care during COVID-19: A Somerset perspective
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Somerset
Date of publication 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 3 April, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 30 September, 2020
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Health protection
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service closure
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
User stories
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Community pharmacy
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Inpatient care
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Social care services 
Home care / domiciliary care
Nursing care home
Residential care home
Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency
NHS 111
Urgent care services

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people under the age of 18
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Not applicable
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.