Healthwatch Report Covid-19 one year on, access to health and social care services, and the future

Healthwatch Report - Covid-19 one year on, access to health and social care services, and the future - APRIL
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Overview for April 2021

The following provides headlines from the feedback received in April 2021.  

The key features for April are:

The following identifies some of the key areas which were drawn from the 338 public responses provided in April 2021.  It is important to note that throughout the report these headline statements are supported by contextual information where relevant and perhaps more importantly the words of the people behind the headlines.

  • Up on last month 49% of people responding felt fine and were looking forward to returning to some level of normality, a further 28% said they felt ok and had developed new coping mechanisms making them more resilient for the ‘new normal’ – This slow increase to a more normalised sense of wellbeing is possibly anticipated with the changes to the seasons and environment, however it remains to be seen if this momentum continues over the coming months.
  • In April, less people (19%) felt anxious about leaving the house than they did in March - We commented last month that we were not able to ascertain what a ‘normal’ % of anxiety would look like pre the pandemic, however as numbers seem to fall, we watch to see if that continues and at what level it plateaus for our respondents.  We noted the change is not significant enough to suggest a sudden drop in demand for mental health services but may do so over time.
  • We have not seen any significant variance to alter our commentary from March about the need for continuation of promoting and developing tools for resilience and self-care and to keep a watchful eye on those with new and existing mental health conditions who are experiencing challenges in accessing care and support.  It is important to say here that this includes all support not just the support which is specially commissioned but more generally how people get help without going through standard referral routes.
  • Replicated from April, there was still a consensus that people wanted more access to face to face appointments - We know that services are not likely to return to the consistent approach of face-to-face consultation for any service.  However, what is evident is that the respondents do not appear to either understand this reality or accept it.  To this end there is much more that needs to be done in communicating with the public and building trust and the commentary from April still holds true.
  • 68% of respondents said the pandemic had negatively impacted their general wellbeing a little or a lot – The ongoing and much publicised delays in getting appointments, delays in referrals, assessments, diagnosis, and ongoing treatment are all cited as reasons for the negative impact.  It appears that those people that have sat on health and care concerns during the pandemic are finding no relief now the restrictions are being lifted and there is almost an expectation that life, health and care should return to normal at ‘pace’.
  • Marginally up on last month we saw an increase in people still feeling services are closed. This focusses the attention on peoples experiences rather than communication.  People being told they can’t be seen or won’t be seen in a way they wish to.
  • Healthwatch is keen to support Lincolnshire residents, particularly people with barriers to communication including IT barriers with ‘Digi-Health’ support.  We would like to work with our local commissioners to receive support to provide this service.
  • It is clear from the responses for virtual health and social care to deliver effective and efficient care that there are aspects which need to be addressed such as connectivity, making systems user friendly and wherever possible uniformed, so working across systems is easier and better communication from providers as to how to access and support the access for digital care.

When specifically asking people how services could be improved for the future the following highlight statements were extracted.

  • Improve accessibility to services particularly primary care.
  • Improve access to face-to-face appointments or provide choice.
  • Commission and promote more varied mental health support which people can access in a timely way and feel supported.
  • Commission better dental services that meet the demand of the local community.
  • Choice – patients felt the need to be able to choose how was best to communicate to make sure they got the most out of their interaction with services, choosing for people reduced the effectiveness of the contact.
  • Timeliness – Greater ability to have control over the times when a patient would be called back or contacted as not knowing caused stress and anxiety.   
  • Efficient and Effective - Where patients do not wish to use digital services, the providers must ensure that they have effective and efficient systems in place to cope with patient numbers and contacts.

It is important that healthcare services better understand what is working well and where they need to focus their resources to help people.  It is also useful to tell the system how people have managed to help themselves, and ways you might have found to cope and more resilient.

Completing the survey will only take a couple of minutes, it is anonymous and most importantly it will help to direct changes in healthcare services over the coming months and years.


Closing date: June 30th - This survey will run from March through to June with a report of the findings being produced each month, therefore you are able to complete this survey once per month.

If you or someone you know would like support with completing the questions, get in touch and we will contact you online, by telephone or by sending a copy in the post. Call 01205 820892 or email


Healthwatch Lincolnshire Report Covid-19 one year on, access to health and social care services, and the future

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