Investigating the impact of Covid-19 on people with new or existing conditions

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Cumbria have been investigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people with new or existing health conditions in the local area. This has been done through engagement work with local support groups, the public reached through social media and one to one conversation’s with members of the community. This research project took place because of the findings from the Healthwatch Together Coronavirus Survey version 1 which took place in March/April 2020 highlighted that there was a lack of insight into the lives of those living with new or existing health conditions. Specifically, on how COVID-19 had impacted their condition in terms of ongoing treatment, appointments, and surgeries.

32 people took the time to share their views for this project.

  • The majority of respondents have felt a bit worried or anxious about their medical condition(s) during the last 18 months.
  • The biggest concern that made respondents anxious about their condition during the last 18 months was catching Covid-19. Other significant worries included being able to access support for their condition, and their medical condition(s) worsening.
  • 69% of respondents required treatment for their pre-existing condition during the last 18 months.
  • The top 3 health services used by respondents in the last 18 months (other than for their pre-existing condition) were: 
  1. GP
  2. Dentist
  3. Hospital
  • More respondents had appointments cancelled or postponed than those who did not. More respondents had appointments postponed than cancelled.
  • Usually, respondents were kept informed of any changes to pre-existing or new appointments/treatments in relation to their medical condition(s) during the last 18 months.
  • The most common methods of communication to receive information for respondents about their medical condition was by letter or by phone calls.
  • It has been a struggle to get GP appointments during the pandemic (and most people have experienced having an appointment postponed or cancelled in the last 18 months).
  • Some patients believe that GP receptionists hinder rather than facilitate the appointment booking process.
  • In the future the option of a hybrid model for appointments is wanted, with the method (online, phone or face-to-face) being chosen by the patient.
  • Participants reported a strong desire to return to regular check-ups for long-term conditions.
  • Long waiting times and poor communication have been highlighted as big issues during the pandemic.
HW Cumbria made a number of recommendations in this report.

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General details

Report title 
Investigating the impact of Covid-19 on people with new or existing conditions
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Cumbria
Date of publication 
Monday, 20 December, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 13 April, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 23 August, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Primary research method used 
Engagement event
Focus group

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Acute services with overnight beds
Acute services without overnight beds / listed acute services with or without overnight beds
Obstetrics & gynaecology
Mental health services 
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
18-24 years
25-64 years
65-85 years
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.