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Our blog

Wednesday, 21 October, 2020 - 13:14

Harry's Story

Eight Camden residents were invited to participate in the Healthwatch Camden work to collect case studies about life under lockdown. This blog highlights the experiences of Harry, a transgender student living in Camden's student halls.

All names have been changed to protect identities and all participants have given permission for their stories to be published.

Monday, 21 September, 2020 - 12:35

Ageing of BAME communities during Covid

Healthwatch Camden was invited to speak at the national launch of the report ‘Ageing in Place for Minority Ethnic Communities: The importance of social infrastructure’ in August 2020. This national research was developed to explore the types of social infrastructure that people aged 50 and over from Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic communities (BAME) use in specific places. As part of this programme, Healthwatch Camden explored the types of social infrastructure that people aged 50 and over from the Bangladeshi community access and to understand how organisations working with ethnic minority groups engaged with older members from their community. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing measures have added increasing pressures to already stretched communities and community services. Our findings highlight the importance of local voluntary organisations working with minority ethnic groups.

Thursday, 17 September, 2020 - 14:58

Building Equal Foundations in Camden

Guest blogger this month is Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Young People, Equalities, and Cohesion.

Whilst there will be difficult challenges ahead, we must ensure that the lasting impacts are not felt disproportionately by Camden’s ethnic minority communities. Covid-19 has exposed the deep structural inequalities in the UK.  We recognised that urgent action was required.  I worked with Juliet Billet, Director of Public Health for Camden and Islington, to establish a working group to implement a six week programme to review the disproportionate impact.

Wednesday, 2 September, 2020 - 13:42

Refugees finding Covid-19 information ‘very difficult’ to understand

Refugees and asylum seekers have been forced to face the Covid-19 crisis far away from families and friends, having to contend with housing issues, difficulties with asylum procedures, anxiety, cultural differences and language barriers. This blog highlights some of the findings from 12 refugee and asylum seekers who shared their experiences with us through the survey and through follow-up interviews. They told us that their most common concerns regarding COVID-19 were: a) a fear of contracting the virus; b) feeling worried about the future or the inability to make plans; and c) “life coming to a halt.” Other common issues with most interviewees were lack of social and community interaction, concerns of the health of loved ones, and experiencing boredom. In addition, the majority found understanding information and guidance from COVID-19 “difficult” or “very difficult.” This is in stark contrast to the responses from all respondents to our survey, only 18% of whom had difficulties understanding guidance.

Monday, 24 August, 2020 - 11:54

No more ‘please hold’: the NHS App and online triage are changing the way we make GP appointments

The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the implementation of numerous digital GP services including online booking systems. Healthwatch Camden volunteers called 25 GP practices in Camden and reported back on whether or not patients were being directed to an online triage system and, if so, the clarity of instructions given on the answerphone messages. Their experiences and the pros and cons to online booking are outlined in this blog. While we welcome innovation that will improve the patient experience and make better use of GP resources, we will continue to argue that new online options for accessing care must not risk excluding patients who are unable or unwilling to use online platforms to book appointments at their GP practice.


Monday, 17 August, 2020 - 11:49

The switch to digital care - a GP's perspective

Dr Kevan Ritchie is a GP partner at the Bloomsbury Surgery in the heart of Camden. In this blog he reflects on the pandemic's impact on GPs. This includes the benefits and drawbacks of the sudden switch to a 'Digital First' model of care.

Wednesday, 15 July, 2020 - 18:48

Parents and children with SEND need additional support

With schools and day-care shutting down during Covid-19 lockdown, parents became fulltime teachers and carers, while many also balanced working from home and managing day to day life. Families have had to adapt to this new way of living and it has been especially challenging for parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Practically overnight, parents of children with SEND went from having high levels of support to having virtually none and many are struggling to cope at home.

Thursday, 2 July, 2020 - 15:36

BAME communities express fear of ending “lockdown”

The impact of Covid-19 has not been evenly spread. Across the UK, people who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) have experienced a disproportionate impact, both in numbers contracting the virus and the likelihood of more serious outcomes once sick. 360 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) residents have told Healthwatch Camden about life during Covid-19.

Monday, 22 June, 2020 - 12:46

Changing the ways we access health and care services

For those who rely on health and care services, Covid-19 has brought sudden and significant changes to the way those services work. Many patients have been willing to adapt to different ways of getting support and most people shared very positive feedback. However, people have made it very clear that health services delivered over the phone or online are not right for everyone and everything. Over 200 residents shared their experiences with online and digital offers with Healthwatch Camden.

Holding Hands Image

Friday, 12 June, 2020 - 15:03

“We all live in fear now” - what we can learn from Camden’s Carers

Carers have an important story to tell us about the impact of Covid-19.