Pandemic experiences - 2020 - 2022

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Darlington report on the results of three surveys about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on local people’s access to services.  Altogether, they spoke to 606 people.

Before vaccines were available, the concerns of local people were around:

  • The ability to access existing services.
  • Being excluded from being kept up to date due to lack of access to online services.
  • Feeling unsupported when they could not attend appointments with loved ones
  • Not having a choice of face to face or online consultations.
  • Wearing masks and talking to health care professionals wearing masks and the communication barriers this presents.

Once vaccines were available, the concerns expressed above remained:

  • The wearing of masks, primarily around communication barriers a mask represents.
  • Future ongoing support for existing health needs as well as Long COVID.
  • Digital exclusion concerns remained, with hopes expressed that consideration would be given to this obstacle in future service delivery.

A survey in 2022 indicated that in general communications of vaccines and information was good. The areas where more could be done were:

  • Keeping people up to date with changes to existing services.
  • The provision of mental health support.
  • Ensuring digital inclusion.

The report includes 7 recommendations and responses from service providers.

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General details

Report title 
Pandemic experiences - 2020 - 2022
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Darlington
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 3 August, 2022
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 April, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 24 March, 2022
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 delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Staff levels
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
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)

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
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? 
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? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

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.