Summary of report content
Healthwatch Middlesbrough and Healthwatch Redcar and Cleveland gathered 380 people's experiences of lockdown owing to the Coronavirus.
The report found that people appreciated how efficient services have been in comparison to what they experienced before COVID-19. Staff were described as friendly, helpful and supportive, which had a positive impact on experiences of services. Safety measures in health and care settings, e.g. PPE and social distancing, are critical for people to feel safe and at ease when attending face-to-face appointments, however the extent to which these are imposed varied between people’s experiences of services. Video calls were seen as an efficient, safe and reassuring way of accessing care in the current climate, however they weren’t always thorough enough or appropriate for the patients’ digital literacy, accessibility and actual care needs. Some people’s access to care had been affected by services’ immediate reaction to COVID-19, e.g. postponement of operations. Experiences of maternity services were negatively affected by social distancing guidelines meaning mothers were often alone, however we have also received messages of thanks to individuals and staff teams in this department. Mental health has been affected by experiences of loneliness and concern for family members, meaning this will be a future area of concern.