Jason, Paula and Igor are a family in the street. They haven’t been there very long but have tried to get involved with the neighbours.
Jason and Paula are Igor’s grandparents, their daughter passed away two years ago and they have been looking after Igor ever since.
They have an older grandson, Niall, who is 17 and lives in Ireland and usually spends longer holidays with them.
Whilst Jason and Paula are in good health, Igor, who is 7 has some behavioural issues and needs a statement for his school so he can get assistance as he appears to have ADHD. Part of this process involves a consultant letter but the appointment has been cancelled. Jason and Paula don’t know what to do, but it doesn’t seem to matter now that the schools are closed anyway.
One week before lockdown, Igor fell and broke his arm, he was delighted to have a cast but was hard to distract him, from cutting the cast off when his arm became itchy.
Niall was with them when lockdown was announced. He has a cardiac condition which is managed with medication. He arrived with plenty, but hasn’t been able to go home as planned. Niall now has to stay longer and doesn’t know if he can get tablets from his grandparents’ surgery.
What the pandemic has meant for them:
- No one knows if Igor will get an appointment before September. The consultant letter is important to sort out the help he needs in school. Jason and Paula worry that a delay might set Igor back for another year. They don’t know who to phone to chase this up and they have no intention of bothering the GP about this at the moment. Paula thinks maybe they should start tracking down the school nurse for advice on this but doesn’t even know if they are still working now that schools are shut.
- Igor will need his cast removed in a few weeks. Paula is feeling a bit unnerved about that. She is not sure if Igor will need another X-ray or if she will be able to go in with him into the X-ray department.
- Niall doesn’t need a consultant appointment locally he just needs repeat medications but this has been hard to achieve because his records are all in Ireland. The local GP surgery seems to have been very reluctant to provide him with any care and treatment. Niall isn’t too worried about this but he knows his grandad, Jason, has been a bit rude to some of the receptionists in the GP Surgery on the telephone, trying to sort this out. Jason is waiting a call back from the Practice Manager to discuss the situation
What we did in this kind of situation
- CHCs across Wales talked to WG about issues arising from patients being in lockdown and away from home. We had heard that some GP surgeries were reluctant to take on patients during the lockdown period and this meant that some people might have no care.
- When HDCHC heard that orthopaedic/fracture clinics had changed in Carmarthenshire, we asked the Health Board about this to make sure that this was accessible to all. We reminded the Health Board that although sometimes services might need to change urgently because of the coronavirus situation, it could not change things permanently without a proper consultation and discussion process with the CHC.
- We reminded the Health Board that CHCs were not there to be obstructive to changes but needed to be sure that any changes considered, involved the public.
- HDCHC asked how School Nurses were being re-deployed during the lockdown period. We know that School Nurses have a very important part to play in supporting families and monitoring the wellbeing of children from challenging backgrounds. We wanted assurance that there was still adequate surveillance systems available to make sure that ‘children at risk’ remained safe.
- HDCHC dealt with a small number of situations where patients had fallen out with their GP Surgeries during the coronavirus pandemic. Usually this had happened because of misunderstandings over appointments or medication. In some cases we discussed individual instances with GPs to achieve a resolution. In others we asked the Health Board to remind GP Practices that some people were really struggling to cope with the lockdown situation and this meant that they sometimes behaved out of character.