Extra 10,000 Brits Likely to Die of Cancer Due to Drop in Emergency Referrals during Lockdown, According to New Study

A drop in emergency referrals for cancer over the past year of lockdowns is likely to result in an extra 10,000 deaths from the disease, according to a new study. In particular, the “stay at home, protect the NHS” message is believed to have put people off coming forward and ‘burdening’ the health service for check-ups, meaning their symptoms were not investigated. MailOnline has the story.

University College London researchers said a drop in emergency referrals from GPs last year across the U.K. resulted in around 40,000 late diagnoses of the disease.

These delays and longer waits for NHS treatment – fuelled by the pandemic – mean thousands will die “significantly earlier” from the disease than would have been the case pre-pandemic.

The study of more than 2,000 adults found nearly two thirds of people worried about bothering family doctors with “minor health problems” because of Covid.

And during the first lockdown last year, the NHS moved GP appointments to online and telephone to limit face-to-face consultations. Number 10’s “stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives” messaging put people off coming forward, meaning their symptoms were never investigated. …

Just 57% of GP appointments are now in person compared with 80% before the pandemic. 

A senior coroner in Manchester earlier this month concluded a lack of face-to-face care contributed to at least five deaths in the area during the pandemic. …

23 million appointments, whether face-to-face or otherwise, were also “lost” during the pandemic.

Out of the 2,000 people polled by UCL, those above 65 – the group who require the most healthcare – were the least likely to want to see their doctor remotely.

Some 56% in that age group opposed having more telephone and online consultations, while 24% were in favour of them.

And only 46% of people aged 18 to 24 wanted more remote appointments, with more than a quarter (28%) against them.

Worth reading in full.

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