Life in lockdown: investigating the impact of a pandemic

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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

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General details

Report title 
Life in lockdown: investigating the impact of a pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Camden
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 4 November, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 22 April, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 July, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Health protection
Holistic support
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 
Structured interview
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 
Adult social 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 
Sexual orientation 
Not known
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? 
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.