Local people share their lived experience of the Covid – 19 Pandemic.

Healthwatch Rochdale have carried out a survey in partnership with Rochdale Borough Council to understand how local residents where coping during the Covid - 19 pandemic.
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The survey was carried out to understand how local residents where coping during the Covid - 19 pandemic and to gather information about what would make the situation easier to live with.


The survey ran from 22 May to 30 June 2020 to gather local views about the impact of the pandemic on health and wellbeing and experiences of health and care services. A total of 673 residents completed the survey. In September, Healthwatch Rochdale also ran 17 focus groups to allow residents to share their more individualised experience. From these focus groups 37 responses were collected and analysed.

Survey findings included:

What worked well for local residents-

Daily walks, cycling, and online exercise classes.

Online platforms such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and Facebook have combatted loneliness.

Supermarkets prioritising the vulnerable and good social distancing measures.

Remaining positive and encouraging good community spirit, specifically with the unity of the “clap”.

Remaining in work and having the ability to work from home. Those furloughed were thankful for the 80% pay.

The weather, keeping busy, doing repairs and home improvements.

Food vouchers and food parcels received from the council

Regular updates from the council’s website and social media.

Access to GPs through phone consultations

Carers, community support and district nurses that continued to provide care


Residents suggestion for improvement –

Increased testing, antibody testing and ultimately find a vaccine.

Relevant accurate messages are delivered to all, by targeting communities and vulnerable groups.

Help with data/internet costs for families struggling to get online for home schooling and work meetings.

Enforcing clear rules on social distancing, compulsory face masks in public places, access to hand sanitizer and suggestions on where to buy PPE.  

Mental health services offered to the public and guidance on how to cope at home.

Support for parents, better services for disabled children.

Help for people with a life limiting illness and physically disabled, but who the government do not class as clinically vulnerable, so do not qualify for help.

Support groups and activities for those who don’t use any social media and online skills for the most vulnerable. 

Residents suggestions – The future

Provisions for face masks for those living in poverty

Calls for tougher policing when breaking Covid-19 rules

Access to a dentist has been particularly poor, especially when dealing with children or the disabled.

Difficulty in shopping with children, suggestion of time slots for single parents to shop with younger children

Criteria for food packages be reassessed as groups of lone vulnerable people were missed.

Encourage local communities to support one another

Local updates from councillors were helpful.

Sharing local stories of Covid-19 patients could help lower anxieties.

Re-establishing Council run ‘Meals on Wheels’ Services once again to ensue nutritious hot food can be delivered to the Boroughs poor, elderly & vulnerable

The findings were shared with the #TogetherRochdale communications group to give services and providers the opportunity to share with the public any changes that have been made and what has been done following these findings. Responses were given by Healthwatch Rochdale, Action Together Rochdale, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG), HMR Circle and Rochdale Borough Council.

Healthwatch Rochdale have also made a series of recommendations following the survey and focus group findings which will be presented to Rochdale Local Care Organisation on 4th November.

The findings in the report provide a real insight into the experiences, issues and concerns that local people have experienced during Covid-19. Working together as a partnership through #TogetherRochdale has allowed local services and partner organisations to identify areas of improvement and show the public that their voice is heard when sharing views and opinions to help to shape future services
— Kate Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Healthwatch Rochdale
This is a key piece of work, which provides a snapshot of residents’ views on how we are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. I would like to thank Healthwatch for their work and the residents that took the time to provide their thoughts. Throughout the pandemic, the council has used a range of channels and techniques to target all age groups and communities, and worked very hard to provide as many people as possible with the information they require. Much has been done and there is still much to do which, by working with Healthwatch and other partners, we will continue to deliver for our residents over the coming weeks and month
— Councillor Iftikhar Ahmed, cabinet member for adult care
The report provides useful insight into areas to examine such as struggles with isolation, mental health support, access to GP appointments and the ongoing problems with access to dental care which has been a national problem. The CCG will continue to work with Healthwatch Rochdale and Rochdale Council to deliver clear information and guidance to our local populations through our targeted communications channels
— HMR CCG Spokesperson


Covid 19 Survey & Focus Group Report - You said we did!

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