Information needs of vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Summary of report content

In order to understand the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, and to inform local and national responses, Healthwatch Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (HWNN) carried out a short survey between 17th April and 4th May 2020 to find out whether people knew if they were in the risk group of COVID-19; whether those in the highest risk group received an NHS Coronavirus letter; whether people surveyed understood official COVID-19 information; what were the unmet information needs of people surveyed and whether GP and hospital appointments had been cancelled or changed due to the pandemic.

Their findings suggested that most people were aware if they were in the highest risk or increased risk group, however, many of them had not received a letter and didn’t know what to do. People aged 70 and over were least likely to realize they are in the increased risk group. People who found the government’s information most unclear included those with dementia, learning disability, the elderly and the pregnant. Most people also felt that they were unable to get clear information and advice about managing existing health conditions and accessing repeat prescriptions. The survey also found that most people were provided digital consultations when their routine appointments had been changed or cancelled.

The report made five recommendations to the local and national healthcare system which included to ensure people received information about how to manage existing health conditions and access repeat prescriptions and mental health support; publicise more effectively who are at highest risk and increased risk; provide greater clarity for the over 70s about the additional precautions they need to take and prioritise mental health support from the outset of a future pandemic.

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General details

Report title 
Information needs of vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Nottinghamshire
Date of publication 
Friday, 29 May, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 17 April, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 4 May, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Continuity of care
Digitalisation of services
Health protection
Information providing
Other information of note about this report 
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Community services 
Other services 
NHS choices

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Sexual orientation 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
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? 

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.