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No 12 Coronavirus Street

Eric and Rachel are in their 60s, they are both fit and well. Eric works as an office manager but has been furloughed during the pandemic, Rachel is a part time yoga teacher. They are busy in the community and local church food bank.
Rachel had been speaking to Betty (who lives opposite) and heard how worried she was about her granddaughter working as a carer without enough PPE. So Rachel had joined a local Coronavirus-19 group on the internet and had planned to sew supplies for the NHS now that she wasn’t able to run any yoga classes.
Then, Rachel’s glasses broke on the fourth week of lockdown. The broken glasses are now a huge problem as Rachel had been looking forward to sewing PPE supplies for community carers so she could feel as if she was contributing. She has also ordered material from the internet and was looking forward to making lots of funky facemasks for children and teenagers, to encourage them to wear masks.

She is a bit worried about her own grandchildren who live in Newport.
What the pandemic has meant for them:
  • Eric had been busy in his workshop printing 3D masks and visors. Unfortunately he tried some woodwork also and cut his hand badly. Eric had to visit A&E – he didn’t realise his injury was so bad initially but when it wouldn’t stop bleeding he knew he had to go to hospital. 
  • He couldn’t drive himself and Rachel doesn’t drive. He wasn’t sure about getting a taxi and was worried about how much this would cost if it ended up with him needing to go to the hospital 20 miles away. He didn’t want to call an ambulance and there were another couple of numbers he could ring like 111 and 119 but he didn’t know what this situation warranted. In the end he phoned his cousin Des even though it meant breaking the lockdown rules. Des was quite glad to go and get out of the house.
  • Eric hasn’t been to a hospital for years so wasn’t sure of the protocol and whether he should wear a mask so he put one in his pocket just in case and he also took along a visor that he had made himself.
  • Rachel simply needs a new pair of glasses, once she has them she can do something to feel useful and keep herself busy. Without glasses, lots of things are really challenging like reading the instructions on some of her cleaning products.
What we did in this kind of situation:
  • HDCHC discussed with the Health Boards how local A&E departments were managing. We heard that there was less footfall in all the A&Es across Hywel Dda. We asked if social distancing could be achieved in departments where the care could not be planned in advance.
  • CHCs across Wales talked to Health Boards and WG about how A&E demands could be managed. We heard about a ‘Phone first’ initiative being used in Cardiff asking people to phone before going to A&E and we asked lots of questions about what this would mean for patients as we did not want people waiting in their cars or being turned away.
  • HDCHC heard how some patients had been ‘upset’ by staff speaking to them harshly when they forgot about mask wearing or social distancing.  We asked NHS bodies to provide some guidance for staff in dealing with these situations. Whilst some people were not following the expectations about keeping a social distance, often this was simply because they forgot. We said that the best approach was to remind them appropriately rather than tell them off in public.
  • HDCHC also told WG and NHS bodies that people were confused about what NHS staff should be wearing in terms of PPE. Some people were worried when they saw staff without masks in hospital. In addition, they were really worried when they saw staff in NHS uniforms shopping in supermarkets.
  • HDCHC asked the Health Board to make it clear how people could access some basic services such as optometry and dentistry.
  • CHCs across Wales identified that there was significant variation in the quality and type of information available to the public from NHS websites.

Read about Number 13 Coronavirus Street >>

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

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