Summary of report content
Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees engaged with local people to find out their views and experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this impacted on their lives and their health and wellbeing. To gain this information Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees conducted a survey.
Key findings included:
- NHS 111 had been a good source of advice and guidance for people in relation to COVID-19 symptoms.
- Overall, clear and understandable information on keeping safe during the pandemic had been easy to find. However those with underlying health conditions found the information to have been conflicting and confusing.
- Those without access to the internet found it difficult to access assistance or local community support.
- People felt that their other health conditions have been affected due to delayed or suspended home care services and access to home adaptation equipment, difficulties in obtaining medication, and not being able to access health care appointments and the hospital treatment that they feel they need.
- Mental health and wellbeing was affected by the pandemic with an increase in levels of anxiety and low mood and worsening of pre-existing mental health conditions.
- The mental health and wellbeing of women who were pregnant and giving birth during the pandemic had been affected.
- The mental health of those who have caring responsibilities for family members had been affected by the pandemic.
- Work related stress and the overall effects of lock down had a negative impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made:
- North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust to consider providing residents with health and wellbeing guides. The guides in booklet format could be delivered through the post to residents homes.
- Those delivering health and social care services need to make it clear why appointments, treatments and service provisions are being cancelled.
- Services need to be in regular contact with all women receiving antenatal and postnatal care.
- Maternity services should promote and encourage the use of mental health support services and information and guidance to support mothers and those who are expecting with their mental health and wellbeing.
- Pharmacies should engage with local voluntary organisations who can support with the collection and delivery of medications for those who are vulnerable, self-isolating or have been asked to shield.