The waiting game: How delays to care during the Covid-19 pandemic have affected people in CalderdaleDownload (PDF 856KB)
Summary of report content
Since March 2020 Healthwatch Calderdale have had a lot of feedback from the public about delays, difficulties and changes in NHS and social care services, due to the Covid19 pandemic affecting how these services were run. They undertook a survey between June and September 2021 and received 84 survey responses from service users, their families and carers.
Nearly half felt that delays to their care had a negative impact on their mental and physical health. People relied on family and friends and/or medical professionals while they experienced delays to routine care.
People wanted clear communication about how they would access or receive continuity of care would also have improved their experience and lessened the negative life impact.
Less than one in five had been made aware that there would be a delay to their care or treatment during the pandemic (between April and August 2021). Over four in five said that they would definitely seek help for a serious or worsening condition.
Nearly two five would be willing to travel further away from home for NHS treatment.
People felt that telephone and/or video appointments are suitable for triage or minor ailments and if medical professionals have access to notes and history. Some people said they had concerns about the quality of care they get and felt that appointments over the telephone/video felt rushed or impersonal.
Access to services was listed as the priority of people, with others listing improving services and improving communication as the things they would change. People liked the quietness of waiting rooms and praised the phlebotomy service for improving during the pandemic.
People reported that pain experienced during waiting times affected their health and wellbeing and on quality of sleep. People wanted an improved way to contact consultants; making online booking easier and allowing greater advanced bookings would have improved their experiences.
The report contains 12 recommendations about information and support, referrals appointments, and communication.