Long Covid: the experience of local people

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Enfield undertook research on the impact of long Covid on people’s lives and access to treatment. They undertook a survey, did interviews and community focus groups.  53 people took part.

 

Two thirds of respondents (66%) had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to experiencing Long COVID symptoms. Over two in five have been living with Long COVID for over year, while many others - who are close to this milestone are also likely to do so.  A clear majority of respondents (92%) have received at least one vaccine dose.

 

Nearly nine in ten respondents cite an impact on their physical health, including tiredness and fatigue, a lack of energy and sleep, aches and pains, a loss of smell and taste, and inability to perform once routine tasks. Three quarters say their mental health has been affected. Many people describe feeling tense, anxious, nervous or depressed.

Over half of respondents (60%) feel they are less able to do the things they enjoy and 53% have difficulty in undertaking daily tasks, such as home chores. Over two in five experience problems with work. Some employees taking days off sick are fearful of facing ‘disciplinary action’

Just over half have consulted with health professionals. Of these, almost two thirds (62%) have been formally diagnosed – with diagnosis times ranging from less than one month (40%) and over four (also 40%). For those not seeking support from their GP, over half (52%) feel they were not a priority and 43% are not confident that their GP could help. Just 12% of respondents feel that their GP or clinician have ‘a great deal’ or ‘a lot’ of knowledge on the condition. Two in five have experienced difficulty in accessing healthcare support. A lack of information and follow-up is reported. Some also feel ‘a burden’. Just 2 respondents have been referred to receive support and just 2 are satisfied with the health service support offered.

Nearly four in five respondents have felt the need to conduct their own research. Self-management (such as exercise, pain relief and peer support) has been notably more effective than support from services.

The report contains two recommendations aimed at GPs.

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General details

Report title 
Long Covid: the experience of local people
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Enfield
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 2 August, 2022
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 October, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 30 November, 2021
Key themes 
Access
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Referrals
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Structured interview
Survey
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
N/A

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details about conditions and diseases

What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 
N/A

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
53
Age group 
All
Gender 
All
Ethnicity 
All
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
No
Does the information include staff's views? 
No
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Mixed

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
No
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
No
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.