About the project

During lockdown and beyond, communities have celebrated the NHS and all those who have continued to put their own health at risk to deliver what services they can during this pandemic. However, there have been considerable challenges and concerns raised both nationally and locally about how patients have been affected.

In surveys undertaken by Healthwatch Hertfordshire during Covid-19, local people said poor access to dental services, an increase in mental health problems, communication failings and over-use of technology were key health issues that needed to be addressed as a result of the pandemic.

Healthwatch Hertfordshire undertook three surveys between May and July 2020. The full findings can be found in the Covid-19 Patient Experience: Learning from Hertfordshire Report and a summary found in the short report – both available below.

One survey looked at how Covid-19 had affected mental health, another asked about shielding, and the last focused on health and social care generally. In total, 667 people responded to the surveys and findings included:

  • Respondents were enthusiastic in their support and admiration for NHS services and staff over recent months, but reported that changes to health and social care due to the pandemic and poor communication had caused them problems.
  • Numerous reports of NHS dental patients finding it difficult to get help despite resumption of dentistry services;
  • Respondents saying online technology had been a valuable tool to help maintain contact with GP practices and hospital clinicians during the pandemic, but this should not become a permanent change;
  • About 80 per cent of respondents to the mental health survey and 55 per cent of shielding respondents reporting a negative impact on their mental health from Covid-19;
  • Patients consistently saying they valued good communication and they really appreciated the help provided by voluntary and community organisations during the pandemic

The findings and recommendations in this report will be shared with Hertfordshire service providers and commissioners to assist them in rebuilding improved health and social care services – both in the short and long term.

To read the reports please go to their website here: https://www.healthwatchhertfordshire.co.uk/covid-19-patient-and-public-experiences-learning-from-hertfordshire/