Coronavirus: Learning from local experiences

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Summary of report content

During March – June 2020, Healthwatch Harrow engaged with local people about their experiences through the Coronavirus pandemic. They engaged with 475 people via two surveys and general engagement.

Concerns about social distancing and a ‘second wave’ are widespread. The shielding system has caused much confusion – for patients and services.

Large numbers of people have avoided services, for various reasons. Those with cancelled appointments have received minimal or no information. There were mixed views on levels of information and support from GP services

Care home/other looked after residents say personal freedoms are restricted. A sizeable minority say information is not accessible to them.

Many people experience a better work-life balance, thanks to home working. Those with activities and routines are more resilient than those without. Household relationships are more likely to become strained. Parents and carers are finding the additional responsibilities to be difficult. People with existing mental health conditions are more likely to be impacted.

Social isolation is on an unprecedented scale, with many completely alone. Many enjoy the reduced pollution and noise, and greater bio-diversity. Those with gardens are much more able to cope, than those without. Many have lost jobs, with the self-employed particularly impacted.

There were 14 recommendations about better information about GP appointments, the need for support and information to people whose appointments are cancelled, the need for flexibility on remote appointments to avoid digital exclusion; the need for information to patients that appointments are safe; the need for alternative transport to appointments; the need for testing of care home residents; better record keeping on shielding; the need for Covid-secure workplaces and environment; the need for organisations to work together to tackle social isolation;  the need for accessible information in a variety of formats; employers to  offer flexibility and choice on home working, where possible and appropriate, the need to increase social prescribing to reach more residents and reduce isolation, and services, GPs in particular, to identify those with a known mental health condition and check on welfare.

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General details

Report title 
Coronavirus: Learning from local experiences
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Harrow
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 9 September, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 23 March, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 30 June, 2020
Type of report 
Report
Key themes 
Access
Booking appointments
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health protection
Holistic support
Information providing
Interpreters
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 
Rep-7774

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Survey
How was the information collected? 
Research
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
N/A

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Appointments
Outpatients
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

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
457
Age group 
Not known
Gender 
Not known
Ethnicity 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
No
Does the information include other people's views? 
No
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Mixed

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
No
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
No
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.