Phone, video and online appointments during the Covid-19 pandemic

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Summary of report content

From 9th April to 31st May 2020, Healthwatch Shropshire ran a public survey to find out what impact the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown was having on their health care, social care and general wellbeing.

They found that people’s healthcare had been affected by the pandemic and many were concerned about hospital services, GPs and dental services. While many people understood why appointments had been cancelled, delayed or changed to a phone or video appointment during lockdown, those people requiring check-ups, diagnostic tests or treatment were upset and worried, many reporting a deterioration in their condition or increased pain. This was made worse by the fear some people were experiencing about leaving the house or going to the hospital because they were concerned about catching the virus. Some people who were offered a face-to-face appointment had even refused. The report highlighted that many people believed that only a phone appointment was available, and some people had decided not to contact their GP at all believing that was the case.

The report made five recommendations to health and social care services- to keep the public informed about digital and face-to-face appointments; fully implement the NHS Accessible Information Standard for people with communication needs; provide clear information and instructions about how to use e-consultations; provide training for professionals about how to manage e-consultations; and share Healthwatch England guidance on ‘Getting the most out of the virtual health and care experience’ which gives tips for the public and professionals.

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General details

Report title 
Phone, video and online appointments during the Covid-19 pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Shropshire
Date of publication 
Thursday, 22 October, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 9 April, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 31 May, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Digitalisation of services
Quality of care
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Primary research method used 
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 
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Community services 
Community healthcare and nursing services

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
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? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
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.