Reading people have been describing the pros and cons of changes to the way they have accessed the NHS for non-coronavirus care, in Healthwatch Reading’s ongoing pandemic experience survey.
One respondent described the benefits of being offered a hospital outpatients appointment via phone. “It was fantastic. I didn't need my carer to drive me to the hospital. I didn't need to go in my wheelchair which is uncomfortable. I didn't need to go into a hospital which is full of germs and poorly people (not referring to Covid-19, just usual ones!). We didn't waste a car journey - I didn't have to pay my carer petrol money or two extra hours work. We didn't pollute the environment by taking a car journey. Most of all I'm feeling well after, not exhausted for several days.”
Many other people have also singled out services for specific praise (see below).
Your praise for keyworkers
“The Berkshire Cancer Centre and Western Elms surgery have been great under obviously trying circumstances.”
“Whitley community café…for food parcels.”
“Balmore Park Surgery has been excellent in my experience.”
“RBH, thanks for looking after me.”
“Whitley Pharmacy have been amazing in enforcing social distancing and response to prescription collection.”
“My postman, John. He is always friendly and carries on as normal through these difficult times.”
“Gratitude and thanks to all key workers. Your hard work and dedication have had to compensate for years of shortfalls in planning and funding. It is you who kept us going!”
“I thank all of the frontline NHS staff who have put the needs of others before themselves.”
However, some respondents have described problems accessing care:
One parent said a planned biopsy to check if their child’s cancer treatment was working, had been put on hold and they hadn’t heard when this would take place.
Another person said: “I couldn’t see a doctor about a chest complaint that wasn’t covid or get any tests done.”
Pharmacy problems have also been raised. “Major issue was the non-availability of specific drugs which required several visits and calls to resolve.”
Add your voice to our pandemic project
Healthwatch Reading’s survey is open until at least 6 July 2020 and we will use the findings to help services understand people’s experiences, to learn any lessons and to encourage good practice.