Alec and Michael are a couple who only recently moved to the area
They moved just after Christmas, from Manchester. Alec is a teacher and Michael is an accounts clerk.
They are both pretty much healthy although Michael is overweight and a smoker. He has asthma and uses an inhaler occasionally.
They moved to the area for a fresh start in a more rural area. They haven’t really got to know any of their neighbours yet and don’t know where main hospitals are apart from the one that Alec drives by, on his way to work each day. Michael works from home. They have registered with a doctor but haven’t needed to go there since moving.
They were hoping to do lots of beach activities over the summer, to get fit but the local lockdown has prevented this.
What the pandemic has meant for them:
- Michael’s routine, working at home didn’t change much until his hours got reduced. He was home alone for longer periods of time without having made any new friends. He couldn’t even get to know the neighbours by inviting them in.
- Michael has always suffered from anxiety. The recent move, the financial situation from his reduced hours and risk of coronavirus has meant he couldn’t sleep well. He tried on- line relaxation techniques but would have liked to have seen a counsellor but didn’t know how easy this was to get in Wales. He noticed that maybe he was drinking a bit more to help him sleep but has now cut back a bit.
- He also found he was smoking more and knew that this could make his asthma worse but couldn’t find anything else to do when he was on his own to keep busy.
- Alec had to continue going to school as a key worker. He didn’t mind this until the news started describing how ethnic minorities were at greater risk. He worried that this meant that he was an infection risk for Michael who has Jamaican ancestry. Because of the money situation he couldn’t stop going to work and he also enjoyed getting out of the house and was grateful that he was still getting paid.
- Alec lost a filling on the second week of lockdown. This was OK at first but then became very painful. He hadn’t had a chance to register with a local NHS dentist and didn’t know what to do. One night, Michael thought that this was an emergency situation because painkillers weren’t working and that maybe they should go to A&E. They looked at websites but weren’t clear about where they could go or if they were eligible for treatment.
- At one point Alec felt a bit rough over the weekend, his throat was uncomfortable but he wasn’t coughing and he could still taste and smell things. He thought he was entitled to a test but didn’t know what to do. He did nothing and after a couple more days felt OK again.
What we did for people in this situation:
- HDCHC told the Health Board that people didn’t know what they could do when they had dental pain. We said that the information on their website was really hard to find and asked them to make it easier. We wanted to make sure that there was emergency dental care available that people could get to.
- HDCHC asked the Health Board how mental health services were being delivered during the coronavirus pandemic. We knew that rules about social distancing meant that face to face appointments had to be stopped but people still needed help in the meantime. We asked how people could still have mental health support.
- CHCs across Wales monitored reports about the impact of coronavirus on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals and asked Health Boards what they were doing in relation to people at greater risk
- HDCHC asked numerous questions about testing for coronavirus. We wanted to understand the differences between the different approaches being used (wet or dry swab systems) and how reliable the results were.
- HDCHC continued to provide information on our website and social media platforms about what people should do if they thought they might have coronavirus.
- HDCHC reminded the Health Board that people wanted to have some of their usual support services reinstated eg asthma clinics, when it was safe to do so and that Health organisations needed to communicate clearly about these.