Aberdeen researchers explore impact of Covid-19 on service change and health inequalities

The Health Services Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen has been selected by the Health Foundation, an independent charity, to be part of its new Covid-19 research programme.

The programme is seeking to understand the impact of the pandemic in two distinct areas:

  • how health and social care service delivery has changed in light of Covid-19
  • the impact of Covid-19 on health inequalities and the wider determinants of health.

The research programme is supporting 10 teams from across the UK with grants of between £100,000 and £200,000. Each project will run for up to 12 months.

Each team is multidisciplinary, combining expertise from a broad range of disciplines and involving patients, the public and/or people with lived experiences.

The project, led from the Health Services Research Unit, aims to explore the roll out of ‘asynchronous’ consultations at scale in NHS Grampian, and to provide practical learning for future use across the NHS.

Professor Craig Ramsay, Director of the Health Services Research Unit said: “Covid-19 changed many aspects of healthcare, including how consultations are managed.

"New forms of consultation are being used in hospitals where patients and professionals are not available at the same time.

"Our project, in collaboration with NHS Grampian, will explore whether it is acceptable to patients and staff and how it changes the nature of the consultation.”

Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, said:“The Covid-19 pandemic has led to huge and rapid changes to the way that health and social care is delivered. The pandemic has also magnified pre-existing health inequalities in this country.

“This grant programme investigates these two areas. Are the changes in services beneficial and how did rapid change in provision happen? And what can we learn from the disproportionate effect Covid had on certain population groups? The aim is to use these insights to help future policy and service delivery decisions that could benefit the population.”