As recently reported on the BBC, it is anticipated by the NHS that it may take many months to fully restart their services as they come to terms with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, a major concern expressed by doctors is that patients are not engaging with the NHS by not turning up for appointments and not undergoing urgent treatment when this is required and when services are still running.
It is very easy to understand why patients may stay away, wishing to avoid social contact that could expose them to COVID-19. This will be especially the case if they are in a vulnerable category, placing them at a higher risk of severe illness and death should they contract COVID-19.
As expressed by Dr Deb Lowe, NHS England Clinical Director for strokes, there are serious concerns that people seeking assistance for stroke care and heart conditions have gone down, similarly A&E attendances have dramatically dropped since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Patient behaviour and engagement with healthcare provision has clearly been impacted by the pandemic. This may be a short term change, but the full impact of this may take many years to become apparent.
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