“I still need my medication, even in a pandemic!” 

What people in Kirklees told us about ordering, receiving, changing, and reviewing their medication in challenging times 

By Rio Kisjantoro
Covid-19 Engagement

Health and care services changed dramatically and with little or no prior notice during the Covid-19 pandemic. In an unprecedented and constantly changing situation, services had to respond and adapt rapidly. From the start of the pandemic, Healthwatch Kirklees have worked to understand people’s experiences, to help identify where things have been working well and where things could be improved.  

Through periods of lockdown, people were asked to only leave their homes for essential journeys and some people were also shielding for long periods of time or self-isolating to protect others.  However, throughout this time, people still needed to seek health care, support, or treatment for various issues, and accessing medication was still vitally important for many.  We started to receive feedback that indicated that people were having difficulties with ordering, receiving, and reviewing their medication so we set out to understand the issues people were having. 

The engagement took place between January and March 2021 via surveys shared online and also through the Kirklees Home Library Service (delivered by the Royal Voluntary Service). 

5 Key Findings 

  1. Due to the reduction in face-to-face appointments with healthcare staff, some found it more difficult to obtain medication in a timely way. 
  2. Some were happy to have a medication review on the phone, whereas others would have preferred a face-to-face appointment and there was some frustration around the limited amount of communication regarding medication reviews. 
  3. People were generally impressed with the way pharmacies adapted their services in response to challenges presented by the pandemic with some starting to offer home deliveries for the first time.  Some people now find it easier to order medication online and have medication delivered. 
  4. Periods of shielding and self-isolation meant that people who were previously managing their own medications suddenly had to start requesting and relying on support from other sources such as family, friends, neighbours and volunteers.  South Asian people were twice as likely to rely on family and friends to collect medication, which they hadn’t done previously.  The pandemic often brought out the very best in people; a great deal of compassion and good will was extended towards others who might be struggling but some people, understandably, did not like being dependent on others for things like medication ordering and collection. 
  5. Some people have faced additional barriers relating to access, communication and digital technology and these are areas which could be improved in future to ensure good quality, equitable access for people who need medication during the continuing challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. 

“I still need my medication, even in a pandemic!” 

Related Reports

Health and care experiences of Kirklees residents during the Covid-19 outbreak

To gather a full understanding of the experience of health and care services during the Covid-19 outbreak, over a period over of 12 weeks (end of May to end of August 2020) Healthwatch Kirklees used a variety of different engagement approaches and tools including a survey and virtual focus groups to talk to people living and working in Kirklees.

Covid-19 Engagement
Read More

Incorrectly issued penalty charges

Over the past two years we have heard stories from patients about penalty charges from the NHS Business Services Authority.

Penalty notices are sent to patients who have incorrectly claimed free dental or prescription charges. The charges include the cost of the treatment and also a penalty fine of up to £100.00.

National work Dentistry Inequalities
Read More

The experiences of ethnic minority carers

Healthwatch Kirklees want to support the Carers Strategy Group in Kirklees to understand the experience of ethnic minority carers as it is felt their voice is under-represented.

We engaged with ethnic minority carers in the community and in local support groups, asking about their experience as unpaid carers, how this impacts their lives and whether anything could be done differently to better support them in their role. We also asked if faith, culture, gender or ethnicity impacted peoples experience as a carer.

Read More