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No 14 Coronavirus Street

Mavis and Brian are in their 70s. They are both getting frail and have been worried about the future. They have been looking at moving into sheltered accommodation because they are struggling to look after their home and get upstairs.
Their only son lives in Seattle and they only usually see him once a year. Brian has a brother who lives a few miles away and they see each other once a week.
Mavis has arthritis and has disease modifying medications which usually involve regular blood tests. She usually goes to her local hospital for this but services have changed and she needs to go elsewhere.

She has heard that the branch surgery she usually attends is now closed and she doesn’t like going to the main branch because she doesn’t like driving in town on her own. She is worried that her pain clinic appointment won’t happen and that will make her very miserable.

They are both very frightened of winter coming and whether they will be able to have their usual flu jabs.

Whilst they are both big fans of the NHS and do the Thursday night clapping, Brian has made a complaint about his last NHS appointment. He doesn’t know now whether he will get an answer to his complaint or if he should just forget about it.
 
What the pandemic has meant for them:
  • Mavis is finding her pain is increasing. She can take more tablets but these make her feel woozy. The injections she gets at the pain clinic usually sort her out for a few months but she doesn’t know if she will get her next appointment.
  • Mavis and Brian wanted to speak to someone about sheltered accommodation. But they assume that they can’t do anything for the time being. They are trying to be careful on the stairs but the carpet is worn and they know they can’t replace it without having people in the house.
  • Mavis has to book blood tests now. In a way, this is better because she doesn’t have to spend a long time in the phlebotomy clinic. But Brian has to take her because it involves driving through the town centre which is busy and the car park is not very big.
  • Brian feels that the complaint he made was important but he feels it is wrong now to chase it up when the NHS is under pressure. He doesn’t know who to ask for advice on this.
What we did in this kind of situation:
  • HDCHC and CHCs across Wales spoke to Health Boards and WG about pain management for people with long-term chronic pain. We said it was important that people knew when some of these services were going to resume.
  • CHCs across Wales regularly asked WG and Health Boards about the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the flu vaccination programme. When WG identified how further groups of people would be eligible for a flu vaccination, we asked how this would be managed and how adequate supplies of flu vaccine were being obtained.
  • HDCHC continued to provide people with complaints advocacy services.This meant that people wanting to make a new complaint or even in the midst of a complaint had someone to turn to for information and support. 
  • CHCs across Wales informed people that the progress of complaints might be slower but that Health Boards and the Public Services Ombudsman’s Office was aware that the pandemic was sometimes affecting the timely management of complaints.
  • HDCHC set up virtual meetings between people with complaints and NHS staff, where it was appropriate to do so and CHC advocates attended these on a virtual basis. This sometimes meant setting up test Skype and Teams calls so that complainants felt comfortable in using the technology before the meetings took place.
  • HDCHC monitored all complaints on a regular basis and identified ones that had specifically arisen from the coronavirus pandemic situation. 
  • CHCs across Wales ran weekly reports on complaints and enquiries to identify the common themes that were happening across the country. We used these themes as the basis of our weekly meetings with WG to ensure that people’s experiences were informing the advice and information that WG was providing in the weekly announcements.

Read about Number 15 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