Summary of report content
Healthwatch Camden undertook research on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on local residents and their access to health and social care services. They undertook a survey and in-depth interviews. Altogether they spoke to 1,590 Camden residents.
All groups relied most heavily on television (regardless of age, ethnic group or disability). Only small numbers reported getting information from the council, voluntary organisations or faith groups. There was an unmet need for information in accessible formats (e.g. languages, BSL, Large Print, Easy Read).
Although there were reported challenges of digital exclusion, use of WhatsApp groups by young and old alike challenges pre-conceptions about resistance of older people to communicating via technology.
Many people reported finding information about Covid-19 confusing and contradictory. People with long term health conditions or disabilities were more likely to report finding information difficult or very difficult to understand.
The benefits of remote health services were embraced by the majority (across all ethnic and age groups). However, some reported serious dissatisfaction, including those with complex needs and mental health conditions.
Many people had routine or long-awaited appointments with NHS providers cancelled at the start of lockdown. People reported a subsequent lack of communication leaving many feeling they had been forgotten. People would have liked a phone call or remote appointments as an interim measure.
People have delayed accessing care they need for a range of reasons. Among those who hadn’t used a health or care service, one in five people told us that they needed a service but felt their needs could wait amid the crisis, and 13% chose not to access care because of fear of contracting Covid-19.
7Levels of concern about Covid-19 were high among all people in Camden. However, Asian respondents were significantly more worried about catching the virus (67%), and Black respondents were slightly more worried (57%), compared to White counterparts (50%). Black respondents were significantly more concerned about job security (33%) compared to White (22%), Asian (20%) and other respondents (24%).
Those under 65 reported higher levels of every Covid-19 concern other than catching the virus, compared to those 65 and older.
People with disabilities were more likely to report concern about being lonely and isolated (54%) than the general population (31%).
There is strong evidence of a significant negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown on the general wellbeing of people in Camden. Sixty-eight percent of people reported a deterioration of mental health. Eighty-eight percent of 25 to 34-year-olds reported a detrimental impact on mental health. 1A deterioration in mental health was reported by both those who were living with pre-existing mental health issues prior to the Covid-19 outbreak and those who had no history of mental health problems.
.Increased use of open green spaces, exercise, reductions in travel and staying local were all cited as positive impacts. However, working from home while caring for school age children was a significant cause of stress for parents.
Four in ten felt lockdown was easing too soon or that it would trigger a second spike. Many people reported a lack of confidence in returning to work, school and other activities, some of whom were choosing to continue self-isolation. One in four survey respondents were keen to see lockdown lifted. A higher percentage of Black respondents looked forward to lockdown easing (53%) compared to other groups. In contrast, only 15% of Asian respondents said they were looking forward to lockdown easing