Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland has revealed how the pandemic is affecting those with long standing health issues
A health charity has launched a campaign calling for all political parties to work together to avoid a permanent state of crisis in the NHS.
The call to take further action to keep people well at home and reduce NHS pressures from Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland comes as an in-depth study carried out by the charity, lays bare the long-lasting health impacts of the pandemic on some of Scotland’s most vulnerable.
The detailed survey of over 500 people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions across Scotland asked how the pandemic has affected their health. The survey findings highlight:
• People are worried, with over half fearing for their physical and mental health in the next 6 months and worried they won’t get the access to medical treatment they might need in the future
• Poor mental health has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic from 13% to 35%
• 59% report an increase in levels of anxiety and stress
Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland has launched the No Life Half Lived campaign, urging all Scottish political parties to stop the “damaging domino effect” that the pandemic could have for years to come on Scotland’s most vulnerable and on the NHS.
It says that a nationwide roll-out of its Hospital to Home service – which helps people to stay healthy, happy and safe at home - would help free up NHS resources to focus on more acute care and help save lives.
Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, said: “The pandemic is having a devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people. Without further action, we will see a damaging domino effect on our society and our NHS for years to come.
“People living with chest, heart and stroke conditions were often struggling before the pandemic. Now that’s been magnified and we’re hearing from people who feel their recovery is going backwards.
“The NHS is also in full crisis management mode just now, we need to make sure that this situation doesn’t translate into a permanent state of crisis.
“Our Hospital to Home service is helping keep people well at home and reducing the likelihood that they will need to go back into hospital. It needs to be there for everyone who needs help.
“Going into the elections, we need a consensus from the parties to come together and make sure that services like ours are routinely embedded into NHS pathways across Scotland.”
Mary Scott, 65 from Wishaw, suffers from asthma and COPD and lives alone.
At the beginning of lockdown Scott was really struggling with her mental health. She felt isolated and was in crisis, but after getting in touch with Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland she now receives regular kindness calls from her volunteer Claire as part of the charity’s Hospital to Home programme.
She said: “I live on my own and I felt very isolated during lockdown. I was suffering from depression at the beginning of the year and lockdown made things even harder.
“Then I started to get calls from Claire once a week. We built a great rapport, she is so down to earth, genuine and friendly. I couldn’t have got through it without Claire’s support.
“I’m now in control of my life again.
“There are thousands of people in Scotland who really need this sort of help and my heart goes out to them. It’s so important to talk, it has really helped me.”