Summary of report content
Healthwatch Kent and Healthwatch Medway collected feedback from 130 people about their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and life under social distancing.
The report found that people had financial concerns involving the impact of furlough and withdrawing cash. People reported confusion about what services they could access as well as confusion about government guidelines. There was also difficulties around shielding, such as getting on the vulnerable list and not receiving letters. Throughout the pandemic, access to food was a major concern, particularly around social distancing, supermarket slots, and free school meals/vouchers. The easing of lockdown has raised concerns and anxiety about going outside. Mental wellbeing has been impacted significantly, particularly around domestic abuse, looking after children, and working from home. Again, Healthwatch Kent heard about difficulties obtaining medication and access to GPs. There have been positive experiences of community care, such as handymen and firefighters delivering meals. Digital consultations have had a mixed response from the public.
Healthwatch Kent and Medway have shared their findings with the Health and Social Care Recovery Cell and Kent County Council.