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New report – What We Know Now

What We Know Now - what people with health and care needs experienced during the first wave of COVID-19

  • Lived experience
  • Health inequalities
  • COVID-19

National Voices is a movement to raise the voices of people using health and care services, and those of their organisations, and it is this collaborative approach that has allowed us to pool together over 66,000 responses to National Voices members’ surveys that has given us this powerful insight into people’s experiences in the first wave of COVID-19. It gives us striking first-hand evidence that must be heeded as we enter a second wave.

With research from 11 member organisations, we have created a National Voices report called What We Know Now.

We undertook a rapid review to analyse surveys carried out by member organisations between March-July 2020. Our findings show that many people experienced substantial harm and distress, in large numbers and across all groups and conditions.

The NHS, government, local government and non-profit sector responses to COVID-19 in early 2020 were extraordinary and unprecedented, and so we can say without blaming anyone that we must do things differently next time.

This report covers issues such as wellbeing, access to medication, getting food, shielding and access to healthcare, jobs and finances. Some effects are likely to be long-term; some compromised people’s independence and ability to self-manage their conditions; and some were potentially life-threatening.

Key recommendations include doing anything to avoid shutting down health and care services; listening to people is key; people must be provided with much better information.

There is vital information on negative impacts and statistics that show the broad experience of people with long-term health conditions and caring responsibilities. There is also some powerful first-hand testimony.

National Voices is a coalition and we must thank everyone who came together to make this valuable report happen, including its author, Fiona Weir, and all the research participants. Together we are so strong.