09 Apr 2021
International journal of environmental research and public health;
In the UK, tweets around COVID-19 and health care have primarily focused on the NHS. Recent research has identified that the psychological well-being of NHS staff has been adversely impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to investigate narratives relating to the NHS and COVID-19 during the first lockdown (26 March-4 July 2020). A total of 123,880 tweets were collated and downloaded bound to the time period of the first lockdown in order to analyse the real-time discourse around COVID-19 and the NHS. Content analysis was undertaken and tweets were coded to positive and negative sentiments. Five main themes were identified: (1) the dichotomies of 'clap for carers'; (2) problems with PPE and testing; (3) peaks of anger; (4) issues around hero worship; and (5) hints of a normality. Further research exploring and documenting social media narratives around COVID-19 and the NHS, in this and subsequent lockdowns, should help in tailoring suitable support for staff in the future and acknowledging the profound impact that the pandemic has had.