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.