The way other people behaved, and continue to behave, through the Covid 19 pandemic has been one of Swindon’s major concerns over the last two years.

And most people who answered Swindon Borough Council’s health survey in November and December last year felt worse on a variety of psychological and social indicators - there were some areas where people felt an improvement.

The survey which saw 584 responses from people across the borough was presented to the council's health and well-being board this week.

The report on the survey says: “A continuing theme from last year’s survey was a concern around others apparent apathy towards the pandemic, exhibited by their failure to follow government guidance around Covid safety.

“A majority of respondents reported feeling worse on psycho-social indicators such as mental health.  For example, 57 per cent reported worse anxiety and 72 per cent expressed the negative impact of the pandemic on time spent socialising.

“In particular, a lot of responders were concerned that others were not wearing face coverings: “People seem to be taking their 'finger off the button' and not wearing masks and/sanitising as they did a few weeks ago.” Some described the behaviour as selfish or careless, while another was concerned about “others thinking it’s all over.”

Whereas the survey taken in 2020 saw people mostly worried about the financial impact of the pandemic and lockdowns, the latest responses were often about anxiety about how things will turn out: “Some feared that the pandemic is “never going to end”, while others feared that things would go back to how they were i.e. full-time office working.

A number of respondents found some things had improved as a result of the pandemic. The report says: “The majority of these were about having the flexibility to work from home, as well as more flexible working hours, less time spent travelling to work and therefore more time spent on other things, and having a better work/life balance.

“Some also felt positive change had come about either through finding alternative employment after losing their job in their pandemic, or through choosing to leave.

“Some found more time to exercise in various forms, some stated that they eat better, including eating less processed food. Others mentioned their spiritual or mental wellbeing, finding enjoyment in new hobbies and the outdoors as “life is less hurried.”

“For a lot of people this was connected to spending more time with family.”

The temporary chairman and cabinet member for adults’ services and health, Coun Brian Ford commended the survey and report. He said: We have to recognise it’s a snapshot of how people were feeling at that time.

“They may feel differently now.”