Summary of report content
Healthwatch County Durham undertook research to understand people’s experiences of using health and social care services during the COVID-19 lockdown. They undertook an online survey to which 257 people responded
Nearly seven in ten people found it easy or very easy to find advice or information about COVID-19. The most popular way to find advice and information was online via national websites. Thirteen people with additional communication needs were not able to find advice and information in the appropriate format or language.
Of the respondents who had accessed a health or social care service during lockdown, 177 had a telephone consultation. Although only a few respondents had a video consultation 156 of them thought that they should be offered in the future.
Many respondents experienced change or disruption to their services or treatments during lockdown, with 91 experiencing significant changes, 89 experiencing minor changes and 45 experiencing no changes. In addition 123 respondents had planned health and social care services cancelled as a result of COVID-19. When asked why people hadn’t used health and social care services during lockdown, 56 people had their appointment postponed due to COVID-19, 38 thought their problem could wait until services were back to normal, 30 didn’t want to bother services as they were so busy with COVID-19, 27 were worried about catching COVID19.
When asked about mental health wellbeing 153 stated that they experienced both positive and negative emotions, 67 people ‘felt generally happy most of the time’; 131 respondents didn’t feel the need to access any mental health support whilst 96 respondents accessed support from family and friends.
The report includes observations on communication, digital and online services, access to services and training.