Fears over Covid-19 impact on healthcare

COVID-10 Milestone

Fears over Covid-19 impact on healthcare

Doctors fear a devastating toll on non-coronavirus patients who still face delays in diagnosis and care.

That is according to the front page of the Daily Mail today, which reports that more than a third of doctors said their hospitals have started only a ‘very small number’ of the procedures commonly used to diagnose tumours, heart disease, strokes, dementia and intestinal illnesses.

The majority of doctors are also still facing delays when trying to refer patients for cancer or cardiology tests, says the Daily Mail.

The Royal College of Physicians survey involved 1,029 senior doctors and consultants and took place over 24 hours at the end of last month.

When asked which areas had suffered most, they listed cardiology, cancer, diabetes, care of the elderly, lung disease and illnesses of the digestive system as the most common.

Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s of great concern to see how difficult it’s been to return cancer services to pre-pandemic levels. It’s clear from these figures that Covid-19 continues to have a significant impact.”

An NHS spokesman said: “Alongside responding rapidly to coronavirus and ensuring over 100,000 patients could receive hospital care, NHS staff also provided more than five million urgent tests, checks and treatments during the peak of the virus, and local teams have already made significant progress in bringing back those services in a way that is safe for patients and staff.”

This week the NHS announced that ‘Covid-friendly’ cancer treatments that are safer for patients during the pandemic would be expanded and extended through a £160 million initiative.

The funding will pay for drugs that treat patients without having such a big impact on their immune system or offer other benefits such as fewer hospital visits.

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said: “Since the first case of Covid in England six months ago, NHS staff have fast tracked new, innovative ways of working so that other services, including A&E, cancer and maternity could continue safely for patients and it is thanks to these incredible efforts that 65,000 people could start treatment for cancer during the pandemic.”

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