Members of Healthwatch Peterborough have expressed their concern regarding a lack of people observing the public PPE rules.
Several members shared their experiences of shopping, collecting medicines and visiting care homes and hospitals at the Health and Care Forum last week.
Sandie Shaw, Healthwatch Peterborough CEO said: “For those of you living in Fenland, what is the general feeling at the moment when you are out and about?”
One member replied: “People are worried about going out not only because of COVID-19, but also because some people are taking the whole thing much less seriously than we appear to be doing.
“The infection rate is rising again day on day, whether that’s because of a lack of social-distancing or mixing in pubs and clubs I’m not sure.
“What I can say is from my own experience is that I still see people not wearing masks when they go shopping; in one instance I was at a supermarket and the man who walked in before me had no mask – he apologised to the girl supervising the entrance saying that he’d ‘forgotten it’, and she said ‘Oh, never mind’, and just let him in! Now that can’t be right surely?
“They’re risking all of our lives by letting in one person that way. What should be done is if they have no mask to turn them away, or offer them one to wear. It’s making people frightened, wanting to stay indoors and not risk going out.”
CEO Sandie Shaw added: “As a trust, Healthwatch is already in a state of readiness for a second wave of coronavirus next year. “The big worry is that it’s going to come this winter coinciding with all the pressures that we usually associate in a normal ‘flu season’.
“The NHS services are very mindful of this and prepared, but educating people and telling them to stay safe and to think of others is absolutely vital.”
Caroline Tyrrell-Jones, Communities Programme Manager at Healthwatch also highlighted the importance of going to the doctors if you have any concerning cancer symptoms to come forward as soon as possible, she said: “We also want to let everybody know that while coronavirus naturally took precedent for a while, the cancer services provided by the NHS and others are now up and running almost at full capacity again.
“Macmillan GP Oliver Stovin, who covers the Oundle-Peterborough area, has made a plea to locals that if they have any worrying symptoms or suspicions regarding cancer to come forward as soon as possible. They should get in touch with their GP who will fast-track them into the system as the service is now back up to 80-90% again.
“At North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust the level of recommendations had dropped as low as 25% of those normally expected. However, the cancer referral services are now getting back to something like normal and with space available, people will be ‘fast-tracked’ through for consideration. The exception to that rule is endoscopy.”
Healthwatch is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services whose sole purpose is to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to speak out on their behalf, working to get services right for the future.
Healthwatch Peterborough can be contacted on 0330 355 1285 or www.healthwatchpeterborough.co.uk.