Summary of report content
During the Covid-19 outbreak, Healthwatch Hertfordshire carried out three online surveys to better understand the public experiences of mental health, shielding and health and social care services more generally. To ensure that they heard from those who do not have access to, or do not feel competent using the internet they carried out this additional piece of work to speak to those who are digitally excluded about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. They wanted to find out the reasons behind digital exclusion as well as how being digitally excluded has affected people’s experiences during the pandemic.
They carried out six, one to one in depth telephone interviews between 24th August and 7th September 2020. This approach meant they could investigate people’s experiences in depth and within its real-life context, as well as showcase the uniqueness of individual experience.
Two people said that their main barrier to digital inclusion was the cost as well as a mistrust of online platforms and services, notably online banking and social media.
- Two people lacked the skills to use their devices to get online.
- One person had a medical condition which prevented them from using electronic devices for extended amounts of time.
- One person wasn’t interested in using the internet.
- The people they spoke to shared experiences of missed healthcare appointments, increased feelings of isolation and loneliness and expressed frustration at confusing Government messages regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
People had a number of motivations for getting online including
- Being able to keep in contact with friends and family more easily
- Being independent, and not relying on help from family members
- Being able access more information