From digital exclusion to inclusion

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Summary of report content

This report is a summary of the learning form Healthwatch Islington and Diverse Communities Health Voice’s digital inclusion work, a series of small projects funded through local and national charitable trusts. This report covers work that has taken place over the past four years.

With the need to socially distance to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, many services had to offer support remotely (by phone or internet) with a reliance on websites and social media for sharing information.

In Healthwatch Islington’s September 2020 report “The Impact of Covid-19”, they spoke to 200 Islington residents about their experience of the pandemic so far.

Of 200 respondents 83 had not gone online to access services in the previous two months, 38 didn’t know how to, and 14 had no access to either internet or a device. One didn’t access because of a perceived language barrier, one because they were homeless with no recourse to public funds and one because they ‘don’t need to, Arachne provided me with clear information in Greek and I could ask questions to clarify my understanding , which is better than any online service’.

Healthwatch Islington believes that digital can be for anyone and that online services can help us to be more inclusive. However, as many residents face barriers to accessing services in this way service providers must make sure that there are a number of options available to residents. From an equalities perspective, services must be pro-active in offering and advertising reasonable adjustments.

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General details

Report title 
From digital exclusion to inclusion
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Islington
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 19 May, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Saturday, 1 April, 2017
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 31 March, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Information providing
Integration of services

Methodology and approach

Primary research method used 
Focus group

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
25-64 years
65-85 years
85 +
Asian / Asian British
Black/ African / Caribbean / Black British
Mixed / multiple ethnic groups
Not known
Other ethnic group
Does the information include public'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? 

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.