LONDON – The suspension of hospital services during the COVID-19 lockdown has had damaging effects on the healthcare of the citizens of the United Kingdom as almost two-thirds of people with life-threatening conditions were denied care, according to a new analysis.
In what is said to be the biggest study into the impact of suspending National Health Service (NHS) care during the pandemic, academics at Essex University found that huge numbers of people with health issues could not undergo surgery, diagnostic tests or outpatient appointments, The Guardian reports.
Analysis by Professor Michaela Benzeval’s team shows a staggering 53 percent of cancer patients have been unable to access treatment in the normal way while Britain focused on battling COVID-19. Furthermore, seven out of 10 diabetics, 65 percent of those with high blood pressure, and 64 percent of people with breathing problems have had care canceled by the NHS across the UK during the past few months.
There has been a fierce debate among British mainstream commentators about the UK government’s response to the outbreak, but in truth, little scrutiny about the possible long-lasting adverse effects that lockdown may have on Britons suffering from illnesses other than COVID-19.
In addition to data on mandatory public health services being canceled by hospitals, the research is the first to calculate how many non-COVID-19 patients decided not to proceed with a scheduled consultation, test or operation, with one in 10 people canceling their own care.
A number of NHS leaders and senior doctors have revealed how many non-COVID-19 patients have been too scared to come into hospital. A little over one in five of those who regularly receive NHS help for a long-term condition were able to complete planned treatment in April, the study found. The findings were based on the experience of 3,414 people with various chronic or acute health problems.