Patients must not delay visits to the NHS in the second wave of the pandemic, urge health officials
“The NHS is open for business”. It is a message health officials have issued repeatedly in recent weeks.
They're concerned that a rather louder mantra from Government – to ''Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives' as Britain braced for the first wave of the pandemic – may have backfired, deterring some in need of urgent treatment from seeking help.
There is concern too, about the long-term effect of policies which aimed to ensure the NHS was not “overwhelmed” by coronavirus patients.
In March, 30 per cent of hospital beds were emptied – sometimes into care homes, in spite of the lack of routine coronavirus tests, as swathes of routine operations and treatment, was put on hold.
The Telegraph can reveal the devastating cost of those policies.
Analysis of more than 200 health conditions shows for some illnesses, admissions for diagnosis and treatment dropped by as much as 90 per cent in the first two months of lockdown.
While the policies intended to defer care of non-urgent care, and protect vulnerable patients, such as those undergoing chemotherapy – from exposure to the coronavirus, the statistics show falls “right across the board” – including in almost all emergency activity, other than childbirth, analysts say.
Some of this was because patients were too frightened to attend Accident & Emergency departments – even if they were having a heart attack.
The figures show that admissions for patients with “nonspecific cardiac chest pain” – a red flag which can indicate serious cardiac conditions – fell by 41 per cent. Meanwhile admissions for heart attack patients dropped by ...
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