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.

You can help…

We will be looking at people’s experiences of primary care, given that these are the most common types of appointments which the greatest number of people will experience regularly.

This project will focus on people from groups that previous research has identified as being at greater risk of digital exclusion – those from areas of social deprivation, especially people:

  • Aged 65 years or older;
  • With disabilities – especially people with sensory impairments, learning disabilities, or dexterity/mobility issues; and
  • With language barriers – whose first language isn’t English.

We want to understand who might be getting left behind by the rapid transition to remote GP consultation. We also want to know:

  • How peoples interaction with primary care services has changed alongside the shift to digital service delivery?
  • What the potential equalities and access issues around digital appointments are? and,
  • What changes and improvements could be made to address these?

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

If you’re a member of one of the groups at greater risk of digital exclusion, or know someone else who is, we want to hear your experiences. If you’re interested, please contact Louise on 0300 777 6543 or email

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

As a thank you for taking part in the interviews participants will receive a £10 gift voucher