A HEALTH watchdog’s survey says mental health has been greatly impacted across Worcestershire during the coronavirus crisis.

The new survey by Healthwatch Worcestershire asked more than 2,400 people of all ages their experiences of finding information, accessing health and care services and the impact of the pandemic on their mental health.

One in five people surveyed said the coronavirus crisis was having a ‘great’ impact on their mental health, with more people responding along these lines as the survey went on.

Peter Pinfield, Healthwatch Worcestershire chairman said: “Our findings show that people in Worcestershire recognise the unprecedented challenges presented to health and care services by Covid-19 and are appreciative of the care that they and their loved ones have received from local NHS and support services.

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“Nevertheless, the findings from the survey have identified some issues that need to be addressed as we move forward into the next phase of reinstatement of NHS services.”

Carried out between April and July, the survey found many people had found remote appointments and online access to services ‘extremely valuable’ during lockdown.

Despite this, concerns were also raised from people without access to the internet or smart phones.

The topics people wanted information about changed over time, with mental health and wellbeing, how to access health services and managing existing health conditions becoming the three main areas people were struggling to find out about.

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Healthwatch Worcestershire have also published a separate Covid-19 Learning Disability and Autism Report.

The experiences and feedback they received from more than 100 people with a learning disability and Autism highlighted the importance of ensuring information and communication is accessible and showed the impact of changes to routine and face-to-face contact on emotional wellbeing.

Recommendations raised by the report were that health agencies in the county should ensure information is accessible, produced in a range of formats and languages to meet different needs. The report also recommended improving communications between mental health services to those receiving them.

The reports are available on Healthwatch Worcestershire’s website – www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk