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No 1 Coronavirus Street

Simon and Julie live here
Both are in their late 40's and neither work. Their home is a bungalow. They have no children.

They enjoy walking their 2 pet dogs around the area every day. They have lots of friends and a busy social life, they like entertaining and Simon loves his top of the range barbecue and being an amateur chef. 

Julie has multiple sclerosis and at times needs to walk with a stick but otherwise she can mostly look after herself.  Simon gives her an occasional hand with showering but has to be careful as he had back problems following an accident at work.   When his back problem flares up Simon can’t drive. 

What the pandemic has meant for them:
  • Julie didn’t get a shielding letter to tell her to stay indoors, although she thought that perhaps she should have one. But she didn’t know how to check this or who to notify. She and Simon decided to self-isolate anyway just to be safer, although this would mean not seeing their circle of friends very often.
  • Simon strained his back putting the bins out after week 3 of lockdown. It meant that he couldn’t go to get their medication from the pharmacist. The buses didn’t seem to be running and Simon didn’t know if he could stand for long if he had to queue to get into the pharmacy. For the first time they had to arrange for a delivery. They weren’t really sure how this worked but thankfully after a few phone calls, it did.
  • Julie doesn’t know when she will see her Multiple Sclerosis consultant next.  Her appointment which was due in April was cancelled.  She doesn’t know when she will hear about it.  She doesn’t know how long she should wait before checking up on this.  She doesn’t want to make a fuss when she knows that the NHS is under a lot of pressure.
  • Simon coped OK with the first few weeks of lockdown, he and Julie were used to being together all the time but as time passed, Simon began to find he was feeling low and didn’t have much ‘get up and go’. He missed being able to see friends and family every weekend. Without other people to entertain every weekend, Simon felt less enthusiastic about cooking. He has put on weight because it was easier to order takeaways and the deliveries added a bit of excitement to the week.
What we did for people in this situation:
  • CHCs across Wales told Welsh Government (WG) that the situation with shielding letters wasn’t clear. We told WG that some people felt that they should have had letters and didn’t know what to do when they didn’t receive one. WG recognised that there had been some problems getting this right. Action was taken to do something about this and a second round of letters was then sent out.
  • When people contacted Hywel Dda CHC (HDCHC) about missing shielding letters, we gave them advice about speaking to their GP or consultant. When we heard that patients were still having difficulties, we told Hywel Dda University Health Board (the Health Board) that they needed to make sure GPs and consultants were clear about their role, so that there was no on-going confusion.
  • When people contacted HDCHC about getting practical help with shopping or other activities, we signposted them to community groups and other organisations who could provide them with the practical help they needed.  
  • HDCHC checked how local pharmacies were managing to get people their medication in lockdown. We heard that there were more deliveries to people’s homes and that people appreciated this.  
  • HDCHC heard that pharmacy opening times had changed in some places because they were struggling to cope with demand. Not everyone knew about this and people were turning up to pharmacies to find that they were closed. HDCHC asked the Health Board to make sure that information about pharmacies was very clear on their website.  
  • HDCHC also reminded the Health Board that not everyone had internet access to find information easily. It had to find ways of sharing this information without assuming that everyone had a tablet, computer or smart phone.
  • When HDCHC heard of one pharmacy texting people to let them know that their medication was ready, we told the Health Board that this was a good idea. It meant people didn’t have to queue outside for ages in bad weather and it helped with social distancing. We said that good ideas like this needed to be copied by other pharmacies.
  • HDCHC asked the Health Board to communicate clearly with people and explain what would happen about cancelled appointments. We said that people wanted to use health services sensibly at this time but they needed to know when they had to do something. The also needed to know who they should contact to find out more. 
  • HDCHC reminded the Health Board that some people just wouldn’t chase up their own appointments and that the Health Board had a duty of care to make sure people’s health care was not compromised by the global pandemic.
  • HDCHC knew that whilst some people, like Julie had sticks and appliances that helped them mobilise, other people were waiting for equipment to help them remain independent. We monitored this to see if it was a significant problem.
  • CHCs across Wales identified with WG that people who had previously been active, with busy social lives, might find long periods of isolation harmful to their mental health and physical wellbeing.
  • CHCs across Wales kept an eye on the shielding arrangements as they were moving forward. We reminded WG that some people felt that they were losing the ’summer’ period by staying at home and this was very challenging.

Read about Number 2 Coronavirus Street >>


Hywel Dda Community Health Council, Suite 5,1st Floor, Ty Myrddin, Carmarthen, SA31 1LP. 
Phone: 01646 697610 Email: hyweldda@waleschc.org.uk

Hywel Dda Community Health Council welcomes correspondence and telephone calls in Welsh,
and that communicating with us  in Welsh will not lead to delay