How has Coronavirus affected you?

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Waltham Forest undertook a survey about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on residents to which 101 people responded.  This report is based on the feedback of 101 people, who completed the survey between April and July 2020.

Almost a third of respondents (30%) may ‘possibly' have contracted the virus, with 18-24 year olds the most likely as a group. Those with disabilities or mental health conditions cite the poorest levels of physical health – by a significant margin. Concerns about infection risk and safe social distancing are widespread.

Almost half of the respondents indicate some level of disruption to services, with accounts of cancelled or delayed treatment or tests. A lack of clarity from services has resulted in anxiety for many. A notable number of people have cancelled their own appointments, with infection risk a key concern. Feedback about GPs, including on accessibility and support is mixed. Online consultations have ‘exceeded expectations’ on the whole. NHS 111 receives a notable volume of praise, for phone and online services.

Major contributors to poor mental wellbeing are uncertainty about the future – notably jobs, finances and the welfare of others. Younger people may be particularly at risk, with concerns about graduation and future prospects prominent. Those with social support networks, activities and routines are more resilient than those without. Services such as talking therapy have proven value, however restriction to remote appointments has discouraged uptake.

Many people feel isolated from family and friends, though technology has greatly helped. Household relationships are more likely to have become strained. The ability to volunteer or contribute has lifted the self-esteem of many. Those with gardens or access to outside spaces appear to be more resilient. A significant number of people (22%) report reduced earnings and 19% have no disposable income, after paying for essentials. Several groups (BAME, 18- 24, those with disabilities or poor mental health) are adversely affected.

The vast majority of respondents (97%) find it ‘definitely’ or ‘somewhat easy’ to find clear and understandable information. However, there is criticism over the clarity and consistency of communication. Most people have access to smartphones, computers and internet, and the vast majority are comfortable with their use. Those with mental health conditions are significantly disadvantaged, compared with others.

When compared with White/White British respondents, people from minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to:

  • Have ‘possibly’ contracted Covid-19.
  • Have a stated long term health condition.
  • Be worried about their own health.
  • Be worried about the health of friends or family members
  • Be worried about jobs or finances.
  • Have lost earnings and income.
  • Access the internet via a smartphone

They are less likely to:

  • Have a stated mental health condition.
  • Have a stated caring or parenting responsibility.
  • Have disposable income.
  • Feel sad about not having access to leisure and facilities.
  • Own or have access to a smartphone.
  • Own or have access to a laptop computer.
  • Have internet at home.

The report contains nine recommendations

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General details

Report title 
How has Coronavirus affected you?
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Waltham Forest
Date of publication 
Thursday, 17 December, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 July, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 July, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service closure
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Inpatient care
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Social care services 
Home care / domiciliary care
Nursing care home
Residential care home
Urgent and emergency care services 
NHS 111

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people'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? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

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.