What did we do?
Since March, people have been telling us about issues they've faced while trying to access health and social care services during the pandemic. We did a dedicated piece of work to find out more about how this has impacted people.
From May to July 2020, 567 people across Sheffield completed our survey. We also looked at feedback we'd heard through our information and advice line, and through our voluntary sector colleagues in Sheffield.
What did we find?
People spoke to us about a whole range of topics. One area that caused a lot of confusion was shielding - this concept was new to us all at the start of the pandemic, and for those who were told to shield, it could be confusing or distressing. People told us that information wasn't been shared in a timely way, so they were left without support or good communication:
"After receiving shielding letter, no further information or check-ups from anyone, neither the council, the government nor the NHS/GP. No help accessing food parcels, felt very much left to my own devices."
We also heard about the way that existing services have changed. Since lots of services had to cut down on their face-to-face appointments, many people had telephone appointments. For some this was welcomed:
"Use of phone appointments for GP was really helpful as it’s usually hard for me to get to appointments with my child or for myself due to childcare"
For others this was really difficult. One Deaf person said that being told to "please ring this number" made services inaccessible to them.
Some people praised the front line social care staff for their hard work and caring attitudes. Some people, however, some had real confusion around social care funding:
"Still continued to pay contributions to direct payments for a service we were not getting and when asking social services if we had to carry on paying it we were told we must continue paying."
We also heard from certain communities within Sheffield who were facing very specific impacts from Covid-19 and the changes to services that came with it:
- Carers told us they were finding it difficult caring for their loved one with no respite
- We heard that asylum seekers might be finding it especially difficult to access services online
- Language barriers are causing problems for people who cannot understand complex medical terminology online or over the phone
- People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds told us about an additional fear of catching the virus after reports of its disproportionate impact on these groups
Find out more
For more detailed findings, as well as the recommendations we've made for services to consider through the next stages of the pandemic and beyond, read the full report. We've also produced a 2 page summary of the findings and recommendations, available on our website: