COVID-19 in Greater Manchester: a joint report

Healthwatch Rochdale has come together with the nine other Healthwatches in Greater Manchester to compile a report highlighting the views of residents on the challenges faced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 3,000 people shared their opinions and experiences, and information was collected via surveys, telephone, and through online sessions. Offices also engaged with specific areas of the community such as Deaf residents and ethnic minority groups. Healthwatch felt it was important to consider Greater Manchester as a whole and put forward recommendations that could benefit people across the area.

Key themes and recommendations:

Dentistry

Access to a dentist has been highlighted as a major problem across Greater Manchester.

Patients need to be reassured that they do not need to become private patients if they are already an NHS patient. A public health campaign on the necessity of good oral health for children and adults would be beneficial.

Mental health

There has been a great deal of coverage about the impact of lockdown on mental health. A revised Greater Manchester mental health strategy is on its way, but all boroughs need to review their current strategies and priorities.

Healthwatch asks that authorities to look at the ability to meet the demand for services, from health prevention to the treatment of the seriously mentally ill across all age ranges.

Waiting lists and routine care

The pandemic has resulted in huge waiting lists for people with physical health care needs and it will take a long time to recover. However, many patients have steered clear of their GP and there may be a surge in appointment requests post-lockdown.

Healthwatch advises authorities to keep patients informed of their place on waiting lists to allow them to develop coping strategies. People also wish to know how treatment is prioritised, and Healthwatch highlights the vaccination programme as a good example. Transparency is key.

This is a very important report and shows the themes of the challenges faced by Rochdale residents are shared with residents in other boroughs. COVID has had a terrible impact on us all but we really have seen the best of society over the last year especially frontline workers in health and care services. I hope policy makers take these recommendations and implement them as we move out of restrictions
— Ben Greenwood, Healthwatch Rochdale Interim Chair

Healthwatch recognises the efforts of frontline workers and Greater Manchester residents have told us about the support they have received from the NHS, from volunteers, and from community groups during lockdown. We have outlined these themes and recommendations with the goal of supporting service providers in improving both outcomes and access to health and care services now and in the future.

We encourage Greater Manchester residents to contact their own local Healthwatch and continue sharing their experiences and views on health and social care issues, so that we can direct our work to the issues that matter.

Downloads

Healthwatch in Greater Manchester Covid 19 Report