The waiting game: How delays to care during the Covid-19 pandemic have affected people in Calderdale

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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.

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General details

Report title 
The waiting game: How delays to care during the Covid-19 pandemic have affected people in Calderdale
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Calderdale
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 9 February, 2022
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 1 June, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 30 September, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health protection
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
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 
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Inpatient care
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Social care services 
Adult social care

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
25-64 years
65-85 years
Asian / Asian British
Black/ African / Caribbean / Black British
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? 
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.