Accessing Healthcare during the Covid-19 Outbreak:
Research by Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership and Healthwatch Surrey.
Introduction and background
The outbreak of Covid-19 has influenced the lives of everyone in the UK, particularly when it comes to accessing healthcare services. With NHS under greater pressure than ever before and in order to minimise the risk of contracting the virus, multiple services have had to be delivered via different means, such as phone and online consultations, while others have had to be discontinued indefinitely. These changes may have implications on the mental and physical health of the population, and their ability and willingness to access health and care services during this unprecedented time.
Who are we?
Surrey Heartlands is a partnership of health and care organisations working together with staff, patients and carers, families, and members of the public, to transform local services and support people to live healthier lives. It covers the majority of Surrey; those areas looked after by the NHS Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group, along with all local NHS organisations and Surrey County Council. (https://www.surreyheartlands.uk/)
Healthwatch Surrey is part of a network of organisations across England established under statute from the government to ensure the involvement of local people in the commissioning, provision and scrutiny of health and social services. It is a community interest company and it has the power to make sure that those in charge of health and social care services hear people's voices. (https://www.healthwatchsurrey.co.uk/about-us/)
Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership and Healthwatch Surrey will shortly be engaging with community members to jointly undertake urgent Covid-19 research with the following aims and objectives:
Gain insight into excess deaths that are unrelated to Covid-19.
Identify healthcare problems that have not been dealt with during this time and may be stored up for the near future.
Understand how we can do better if there is a second peak.
Identify what messages have come out from the NHS during Covid-19 and how these were perceived and understood by the public.
How will this Research be conducted?
Our Healthwatch Surrey Citizen Ambassadors will be engaging with members of the community who are happy to share their experiences through a guided discussion of no more than 45 minutes. To comply with government guidelines on social distancing, these conversations will take place online, by telephone or responses can be submitted by post for those participants who may not be able to access digital mediums. We would especially like to hear from those people who may not always feel that they have a voice in their community.
Can you help with this important research?
We would appreciate your help by sharing our questions and encouraging engagement by your community members. The Research Questions will be available for distribution on Tuesday 26th May. Please contact me, Non Hill (Non.Hill@healthwatchsurrey.co.uk; 07748 444146), or a member of the Healthwatch Surrey team if you have any queries – details below. With thanks for your time.
Digital Citizen Ambassador
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