Will ‘the feeling of abandonment’ remain? Persisting impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on rheumatology patients and clinicians

Melanie Sloan, Rupert Harwood, Caroline Gordon, Michael Bosley, Elliott Lever, Rakesh Modi, Moira Blane, James Brimicombe, Colette Barrere, Lynn Holloway, Stephen Sutton, David D'Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To better understand rheumatology patient and clinician pandemic-related experiences, medical relationships and behaviours in order to help identify the persisting impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and inform efforts to ameliorate the negative impacts and build-upon the positive ones. Rheumatology patients and clinicians completed surveys (Patients N = 1,543, Clinicians N = 111) and interviews (Patients N = 41, Clinicians N = 32) between April 2021 and August 2021. A cohort (N = 139) of systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease patients was also followed-up from March 2020 to April 2021. Analyses used sequential mixed methods. Pre-specified outcome measures included the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental wellbeing score (WEMWBS), satisfaction with care, and healthcare-behaviours. We identified multiple ongoing pandemic-induced/increased barriers to receiving care. The percentage of patients agreeing they were medically supported reduced from 74.4% pre-pandemic to 39.7% during-pandemic. Ratings for medical support, medical-security and trust were significantly (p< 0.001) positively correlated with patient WEMWBS and healthcare-behaviours, and decreased during the pandemic. Healthcare-seeking was reduced, potentially long-term, including from patients feeling 'abandoned' by clinicians, and a 'burden' from Government messaging to protect the NHS. Blame and distrust were frequent, particularly between primary and secondary care, and towards the UK Government, whom
Original languageEnglish
JournalRheumatology (Oxford, England)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Dec 2021


  • Covid-19 pandemic
  • Healthcare-systems
  • NHS
  • Rheumatology
  • chronic diseases
  • healthcare behaviours
  • medical security
  • mental health
  • patient-clinician interactions
  • telemedicine
  • trust


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