Summary of report content
During the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, Healthwatch Islington undertook a survey of 200 residents to capture their experience. The report also contains results of other surveys and engagement they undertook, reaching altogether 287 people. The report outlines their findings and what Healthwatch Islington did about the findings.
The impact of the crisis has been most severe for those who were already worse off, for those in less secure employment, with less financial resources
There has been a disproportionate impact on people from Black and Ethnic Minority background. The Public Health England Disparity report was inconclusive about the reasons for this. There have been suggestions that there could be links with other health conditions.
The digital divide widened. The need for social distancing has meant services can be more safely delivered on-line. They found people who don’t have access to equipment and connections (or had it through libraries but libraries had to close), but also who lack experience of using the internet and therefore lack confidence. These residents have been further excluded during this time. Using the internet to look up information does not necessarily mean someone can easily download an app and start accessing on-line services, there are lots of strands to this exclusion
As lockdown has eased, the messaging on what’s required has been confusing. Hand washing, something people do anyway and they needed to do it more frequently and for longer. Getting tested, people are less clear. In part this is because the communication around this is more localised (ie where to get tested) and still being worked up. Clear, multi-layered messaging is needed. Unfortunately, the policy itself is not straightforward as people can only get a test if they have symptoms, not get a test if they live with someone with symptoms. This could impact on those who are self-employed or on zero-hours contracts.
Residents are worried about catching the virus and worried about the consequences of lockdown, in particular on reducing contact with others and potential financial impacts. But simple things have helped them cope. Spending time with people you live with, connecting with friends and family (by phone/ on-line), cooking and practising Faith.
There has been fear and uncertainty around accessing health care services and support.