Over the summer of 2020, patients told us about their experiences during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results paint a bleak picture of the massive toll on all patients of the coronavirus pandemic and the emergency measures taken in response to it. Despite the large scale celebration of the NHS over the spring and early summer, the emergency measures came at a huge cost to patients. In particular, access to services became very difficult, and many patients were left feeling unsupported, anxious and lonely. The relationship between patients and the NHS has been significantly disrupted.

It was by no means all bad: some patients reported good ongoing care, and were impressed by the way their local communities came together to support them.

Our report uses what patients told us to look to the future, both near and long-term. It contains recommendations for the next phase of the emergency response, and also a call for the health and care system to be built back better after the pandemic: the current emergency footing cannot be the basis for the ongoing relationship between patients and the NHS.

About the survey

The survey was available online from 6th May 2020 to the 17th August 2020.

In total, 953 people responded to questions in at least one of the sections above. The sample strongly reflects the experiences of older people with long term conditions: the majority of respondents identified as female (65%), were aged over 55 (74%, with 48% of those people in the 65-74 age bracket), 84% were White British, and were heterosexual (86%). All regions and devolved nations were represented.

Read the report.

The Patients Association has been supported to fund this survey and report through sponsorship provided by Novo Nordisk and ENGINE | MHP. Novo Nordisk and ENGINE | MHP have had no influence over the development of the survey or the content of the report.