Digital Engagement Survey 2020: Interim Report

Interim findings from the Healthwatch in Sussex and Sussex NHS Commissioners’ Digital Engagement Survey 2020: Preferences towards the future of health and social care services in Sussex
Woman helping an elderly man use a IPad

We have today released an interim report from the Healthwatch in Sussex public survey on digital consultations, combined with results from the Sussex CCG‘s survey on NHS communications with patients (where comparable questions were used).

With a combined sample of 2185, the engagement focused on establishing people’s experiences of digital or remote consultations during the COVID-19 period and crucially, their expectations and preferences for service redesign and delivery in the restore and recovery stages post COVID.


Preferences towards the future of Health Social Care services in Sussex - Interim Report

The headline results are:

  • 37.4% of people chose not to make an appointment during the pandemic despite having a need to access health, social or emotional care, confirming the very substantial backlog of clinical and social care need that will need to be addressed.
  • People with disabilities were more likely to delay appointments relative to people without disabilities, independent of their age, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
  • During the pandemic, nearly two-thirds of people had a phone appointment, with lower proportions using online (23.2%) and video (10.2%). The CCG-led survey showed that 35.4% of people had experienced a face-to-face appointment during the pandemic, the majority of which were at a GP surgery or at hospital.
  • For those that had phone, video and online appointments during the pandemic, satisfaction levels were high. For example, 80.4% were satisfied or very satisfied with phone appointments. This may show that if people putting off appointments were encouraged to use this alternative provision, they may be surprisingly satisfied.
  • For triage (being guided to the right service), GP, medication, test results and emotional and mental health NHS wellbeing support (including counselling and therapy), people were mostly keen for phone appointments relative to video and online.
  • A relatively high proportion of people were not happy to receive any form of remote appointment for their mental health (29.7% not happy for remote emotional and mental health NHS wellbeing support, including counselling and therapy; 43.6% for NHS mental health support for longstanding and serious mental health conditions).
  • Most differences in preference towards future appointments were shown in terms of disability and age. For the GP appointments, people with disabilities were less happy to have any form of remote appointment compared to people with disabilities. This difference is shown irrespective of people’s ethnicity, gender, age or sexual orientation. Likewise, when controlling for the effects of other factors, younger people were generally happier to receive phone, video and online appointments compared to older people.

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