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.