Covid-19 Patient Experience: Learning from Hertfordshire

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Summary of report content

To learn more about people’s experiences Covid-19 pandemic, Healthwatch Hertfordshire created three surveys- one focused on the effect Covid-19 had on mental health, one focused on the experiences of those who had been advised to shield, and the last focused on health and social care more generally. The key findings are:

  • People understood that services were under a lot of pressure and admired the efforts of NHS and social care staff.
  • Most people said that Covid-19 had negatively affected their mental health.
  • People who accessed care felt that the quality of care varied across service provider, particularly for dentistry and mental health.
  • The quality of communication from service providers was very mixed – however those who were shielding had a much poorer experience regarding the contact they received.
  • Many experienced changes to their care – this included the use of online technology, cancellation and postponement of appointments, and reduced care and support.
  • While people valued the use of online technology whilst other options were limited, some still preferred speaking directly to a clinician and having a face to face appointment.
  • Across all services providers, the quality of information was not always satisfactory, and finding information from the services was often difficult.
  • People valued Herts Help and the voluntary sector in providing advice and practical support – those who were shielding found this particularly useful.

The report outlines recommendations to improve communication and information and access to services including mental health services.  

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General details

Report title 
Covid-19 Patient Experience: Learning from Hertfordshire
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Hertfordshire
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 28 October, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 11 May, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 July, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Quality of care

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
Third Party
Social Media
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 
Cancer services
Accident & emergency
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Depression and anxiety service
Social care services 
Adult social care
Residential care home

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
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? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
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.