This article summarises the findings of research by Healthwatch into the impact of the cost of living crisis on people's decisions about accessing health and care. The research, which surveyed 2000 adults in England, was conducted four times between October 2022 and March 2023. It suggests that people are increasingly avoiding vital health and care services due to the fear of extra costs. Examples include avoiding:
- going to a dentist because of the cost of checks ups or treatment
- booking an NHS appointment because they couldn’t afford the associated costs, such as accessing the Internet or the cost of a phone call
- buying over the counter medication they normally rely on
- taking up one or more NHS prescriptions because of the cost.
Healthwatch sets out a series of recommendations, including ensuring that the support available to help with healthcare costs is communicated to those that need it.