Digital exclusion from health and care – Can you help us to reach people for their views?

July 15, 2021

The pandemic has meant that the ways in which we can access NHS and social care services has changed rapidly. Many people have been asked to connect with services in new remote ways. This might include online consultations, telephone triage or appointments, accessing test results online and other similar digital services.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be working in co-production with people to develop the best possible understanding about their current experiences of using digital NHS and social care services. We’ll consider how things need to be different in the future to make sure everyone has fair access to care and support when they need it.

You can help…

We need your help if you are connected in any way with someone, or a group of people, who may find it harder to access these services. If you’re interested, please contact Louise on 0300 777 6543 or email

We’ll get in touch to have a conversation with you about your views and experiences.

If you have already signed up to take part in this research, don’t worry. We’ll be in touch with you soon. There is no need to complete the form for a second time.

You can read more about digital exclusion from services below.

person using MacBook Pro - Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

What does it mean to be digitally excluded?

We live in an increasingly ‘tech savvy’ world, yet research suggests more than 9 million people still lack the basic digital skills to use the internet effectively and 2.6 million people are still offline.

The 2021 Consumer Digital Index shows:

  • 9m people (16% of the population) do not have the digital skills needed for everyday life in the UK.
  • Over one-third of UK benefit claimants have very low digital engagement.
  • One-in-ten (10%) of those offline are under 50 years old

People might be excluded for many reasons, but they include (amongst others):

  • Ability – People may not have the skills to use the internet or online services effectively.
  • Connectivity – People may not be able to connect to the internet or may have poor mobile signal.
  • Motivation – Not everyone sees why using the internet could be relevant and helpful.
  • Confidence – Some people fear that the digital world might expose them to risk or abuse. Others lack trust or don’t know where to begin.
  • Design – Not all digital services and products are accessible and easy to use.
  • Condition – A physical or mental health condition may impact on a person’s ability to access digital services.
  • Accessibility – Not all digital services are easy to access if you have a sensory impairment or a disability. People may also find it harder to access services if English is not their first language and translation services are not easy to access or identify.

It’s important that we include the voice of people who may find access to digital services more difficult in this research so, if you can help us, please get in touch – email or call us on 0300 777 6543

We want to understand more about the impact of being digitally excluded from support during the pandemic. This will be important learning for our local health and care system, and we’ll make sure it is heard.

We’ll talk to you about what is needed to help people to access services, what is currently preventing people from finding support and discuss ways that we could engage people you know or support for their views too.