During the height of the Spring 2020 Coronavirus lockdown, between late April and early June, Healthwatch Rutland were asking the public across Leicester Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) to tell them about their experiences of health and care support.
Many changes, made very quickly in March and April, substantially affected people’s access to health and care services. To name a few, these changes included: closure of Urgent Care Centres in Oakham and Melton Mowbray; cessation of planned procedures and hospital clinics; protocols for rapid discharge from hospital; and how to access appointments at GP surgeries. In a joint survey from Healthwatch in Rutland, Leicester/Leicestershire and the LLR Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), the public were asked to share how they were finding the changes. The CCGs published the LLR-wide findings in their July report.
135 people from Rutland shared their thoughts and Healthwatch Rutland’s latest report “Experiences of health and care in Rutland during the Covid-19 lockdown” compares similarities and differences to people’s experiences in neighbouring Leicester and Leicestershire.
Some of the key findings are:
- Rutland people found it easier to access and understand information about health and care services during the lockdown than people in Leicester City and Leicestershire, with males in Rutland feeling better informed than females.
- More patients in Rutland, compared with those in Leicester and Leicestershire, felt they were kept up-to-date about changes to accessing health and advice at their GP surgeries.
- Three quarters of Rutland respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with telephone triage arrangements for accessing GP care and many expressed a desire for this to continue, although some preferred face-to-face contact.
- Over half of the respondents were reluctant to access health care services because they did not want to overburden the NHS or feared contracting Covid-19.
- Respondents in all three areas were happy with the services they had received from local pharmacies. Many Rutland people liked time-slots for collecting prescriptions and prescription deliveries but others mentioned difficulties with long queues outside pharmacies – especially for sick or disabled people in poor weather.
- Over half of respondents in Rutland and Leicestershire had not needed mental health support, compared with only a third of respondents from Leicester City.
- Concerns were expressed about people who do not have access to the internet for easy access to advice, information, and new online ways of receiving video consultations for healthcare.
This report shines a light on how Rutland people coped during the lockdown, how our health and care services met our needs and what lessons could be learned. I thank all those people who filled in the survey and everyone, including NHS staff, Rutland County Council staff, volunteers and community groups, families, friends and neighbours, who pulled together to ensure our essential services kept running and kept us as safe as possible during this time.
— Dr Janet Underwood, Chair of Healthwatch Rutland
You can also read about the experiences of Health and Care services during the Covid-19 pandemic for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland