COVID-19 Engagement

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Summary of report content

During May and early June (2020), Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay carried out engagement with local people across Devon about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the local community via an online survey and virtual Zoom meetings used to promote further discussion.

People found that the community-based sector of care was the bedrock of support for many. The virtual Zoom meetings were valued as a way to join up conversations about knowledge of local people’s needs.

Young carers were especially challenged. School closures and the uncertainty of future employment and education added to their anxiety and stress. Normal social contact with friends became difficult. Engagement with this group was less than we would have hoped and was of concern to our engagement participants.

The “Digital divide” and the innovation needed to maintain personalised health and social care communication rose in importance throughout the engagement. We identified that excess national messaging from the media caused “switch off”, so WhatsApp and Zoom rose in use as the choice of communication for those with the skill. Local traditional signposting did not have the same impact to reach those in need.

The mental health and wellbeing of everyone and in every aspect of future life became of great concern both nationally and locally. Access to green (and blue) spaces; normal friend and family networking; fear of the impact of cancelled health appointments and their unknown reinstatement; loss of contact with community based mental teams; the difficulty in maintaining family contact for those in hospital; school closure at a critical time for child development; family stress. All amplifying the existing need of local people before the pandemic, which was already of grave concern.

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General details

Report title 
COVID-19 Engagement
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Devon
Healthwatch Plymouth
Healthwatch Torbay
Date of publication 
Thursday, 7 January, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 May, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 30 June, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Service closure
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Deliberative event
Focus group
How was the information collected? 
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 
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

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Not known
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Not known
Does the information include other people'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? 
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.