PEOPLE in the North-East are more likely to take steps to improve their health and social care services since the outbreak of the coronavirus, research shows.

The research by the Care Quality Commission and Healthwatch England shows 57 per cent of people in the region are more likely to try to improve health and social care services since the pandemic started.

Polling also suggests that 28 per cent of people in North-East are now more likely to donate or fundraise for a relevant health cause.

The survey found 36 per cent of people in the region avoided services because of Covid-19, while 69 per cent reported a noticeable change to the standard of care and 43 per cent were more grateful for GP services.

Michelle Thompson, chief executive of Healthwatch Darlington said: “We know that the people of Darlington are more likely to share their experiences of health and care services, either good or not so good, if they think by doing so, they will make a difference.

"It’s our job as their independent champion to ensure their voices are heard so that commissioners and providers understand our population’s needs especially during the Covid pandemic and beyond.

"Please do share your views with Healthwatch Darlington, and if you do want help and support we can also provide you with the advice and information you need during these uncertain times”

Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England said: "These findings are good news. As the UK looks to the future after COVID-19, it's never been more important for people to share their experiences of care.

“Services won’t bounce back overnight. There'll be problems to tackle but also opportunities to make care better.

“You can help doctors, nurses and care workers find ways to improve support by sharing your experience.”