Learning the lesson from COVID-19: Read our response to a new House of Lords report

A new report from the House of Lords Public Services Committee set out several issues with the UK's approach to delivering public services, which the report calls on the Government to address as a matter of urgency.
Doctor and senior man wearing facemasks during coronavirus outbreak.

Healthwatch England has welcomed the report, especially the call for more to be done to:

  • Reduce the deep and ongoing health inequalities which have been exacerbated by COVID-19;  
  • Assess the changes that have been made to the way health and social care services are delivered to ensure that positive changes are not lost; and 
  • Involve users in the design and delivery of public services. 

What have people told us during the pandemic?

Healthwatch England submitted evidence to the Lords inquiry about the experiences that people have had since the arrival of the COVID- 19 pandemic, and the impact it has had on their health and care.

Read our report 'COVID-19: What people are telling us about their care' to find out more. 

Lords report findings

Positive outcomes

The report from the House of Lords found that public services developed remarkable innovations to meet the COVID-19 challenge:

  • Nationally, the NHS rapidly upscaled its acute care capacity with the construction of the Nightingale hospitals; locally, 15,000 rough sleepers were safely re-housed.
  • Good personal and organisational relationships helped break down longstanding barriers between the statutory and voluntary sectors.
  • Digital technology was used more widely, and more successfully, than ever before.

The Doctor Will Zoom You Now: getting the most out of the virtual health and care experience

We also shared with the Lords Public Services Committee, our research on how digital consultations are working for people, and how to get the most out of the virtual health and care appointments - for both patients and professionals.

Read more

Weaknesses in the public sector

The Lords report found that COVID-19 has revealed fundamental weaknesses in the UK’s approach to delivering public services, which the Government should address as a matter of urgency.

  • Many public services were ill-prepared for the pandemic, with low levels of resilience. The adult social care sector was particularly unprepared, which led to the tragic deaths of thousands of people. 
  • COVID-19 further disadvantaged communities who were already left behind: BAME people suffered disproportionately, the result of historical underfunding of preventative health services; children fared worse during the pandemic, too. Even before the crisis, Government and service providers were not working together effectively to protect vulnerable children. 
  • The public service response was at times hampered by over-centralised, poorly coordinated and poorly communicated policies that were designed and delivered by central Government, even though local-level providers were often better equipped.

Read the report

Read the report from the House of Lords in full by clicking the link below.

Go to report

Share your thoughts

You can help make health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas. Talk to your local Healthwatch.

Find your nearest Healthwatch