ObjectivesThis study explored the impact of COVID-19 on people identified as at high risk of severe illness by UK government, and in particular, the impact of lockdown on access to healthcare, medications and use of technological platforms.
DesignOnline survey methodology.
Participants1038 UK adults were recruited who were either identified by UK government as at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or self-identified as at high risk with acute or other chronic health conditions not included in the UK government list. Participants were recruited through social media advertisements, health charities and patient organisations.
Main outcomes measuresThe awareness, attitudes and actions survey which explores the impact of COVID-19, on including access to healthcare, use of technology for health condition management, mental health, depression, well-being and lifestyle behaviours.
ResultsNearly half of the sample (44.5%) reported that their mental health had worsened during the COVID-19 lockdown. Management of health conditions changed including access to medications (28.5%) and delayed surgery (11.9%), with nearly half of the sample using telephone care (45.5%). Artificial Intelligence identified that participants in the negative cluster had higher neuroticism, insecurity and negative sentiment. Participants in this cluster reported more negative impacts on lifestyle behaviours, higher depression and lower well-being, alongside lower satisfaction with platforms to deliver healthcare.
ConclusionsThis study provides novel evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on people identified as at high risk of severe illness. These findings should be considered by policy-makers and healthcare professionals to avoid unintended consequences of continued restrictions and future pandemic responses.