NHS Voices of Covid-19

Mon, 12 Jul 2021 14:05:00 BST

Dr Stephanie Snow and the NHS Voices of Covid-19 team were recently announced as the winners of the emerging impact research category in our Social Responsibility 2021 Making a Difference Awards. The award recognises their fantastic work creating a national collection of personal testimonies on Covid-19 and the NHS. This research captures the complex social dimensions of the pandemic, helping to develop policy briefings which will inform practice and influence change in health policy and beyond.

Dr Steph Snow spoke of winning the award: “Winning this award has been a huge boost for our team and all the volunteers, participants and stakeholders who support the project and have been working so hard throughout the pandemic. There are so many terrific examples of excellent work across the University that it feels incredibly special to be recognised in this way.”

The project is an adaptation of NHS at 70, which has been recording personal testimonies documenting the place of the NHS in the lives of people across the four nations of the UK since 2017. As the UK entered a period of unprecedented lockdown in March 2020, and the NHS was engulfed in arguably its most significant crisis to date, the team adapted to remote interviewing which enabled them to document the pandemic as it unfolded, thus capturing the effects and impacts on people’s lives and communities.

In July 2020, NHS Voices of Covid-19 received funding from the AHRC through the UKRI Covid-19 urgency call, in partnership with the British Library, to record an additional 900 interviews creating a unique national archive of personal testimonies to be preserved at the British Library as a permanent public resource.

This national, multi-stakeholder project has developed established pathways for collaboration and research impact through training volunteers, involving participants and building collaborative partnerships with national and local health, charity and community organisations. The process of the interview is empowering for the interviewee and interviewer and particularly during periods of physical isolation has created life-affirming opportunities for social connections. Through engagement events such as weekly volunteer coffee mornings and monthly public ‘Covid Conversations’ all stakeholders have been able to make sense of their own experiences.

Evaluation of volunteers and participants experiences identifies many positive impacts including social connectivity which has been especially important during lockdowns and social isolation, and mental health benefits from reliving and processing trauma through the interview process.

The Covid-19 archive will be publicly accessible and of lasting benefit for present and future generations. Through focused co-production work with key stakeholders, they are shaping immediate post-Covid-19 health policy and practice responses through developing learning resources that can be taken forward for future health pandemics.

  • Watch our short film about the award-winning NHS Voices of Covid-19.
  • To learn about NHS Voices of Covid-19 see the NHS at 70 website.
  • See our full list of 2021 Making a Difference winners and highly commended.