People's views about remote access to appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove have produced a summary document, compiling evidence from engagement and research activities that have provided insight on remote access to health and social care.

The report reviews key findings from 24 research projects carried out by Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, Healthwatch England, Darlington, Salford, Islington, Shropshire, Coventry, East Sussex, and West Sussex, as well as other organisations including Sussex NHS Commissioners, RNID, Health Innovation Network, ONS, Traverse and National Voices, Surrey Council and CCG, Community Roots, NHS Devon CCG.

The report concludes some key benefits of remote access to health and social care, including convenience, a simple and quick route to care, and a less stressful experience. Most accept the inevitability of remote appointments becoming ‘normal’.

Some of the key challenges outlined are concerns about remote access overlooking individual support requirements, fears of misdiagnosis, difficulty explaining conditions in a remote context, lack of privacy, WIFI and connectivity problems, and data security concerns.

Remote access was more challenging for those who do not have English as a first language, those with learning disabilities, and those who are deaf. The report also highlights issues with digital exclusion as those facing vulnerability and disadvantage are less able to access remote consultations.

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General details

Report title 
People's views about remote access to appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Brighton And Hove
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 1 December, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 January, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 1 June, 2021
Key themes 
Digitalisation of services
Quality of appointment
Service closure

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Age group 
Not known

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? 

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.