COVID-19 or the coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of stress and delays in the UK. The regulations and measures put into place to try and control this spreading infection have impacted everyone’s lives deeply. Some of these elements include affecting social contacts, incomes, and job security which happen to be important factors to achieve safe and healthy lives.
The government along with the health workforce in the public sector have drastically altered the way in which they usually work in an effort to protect vulnerable individuals and to slow down infection rates. This has also severely impacted budget reductions that have been occurring over the last few years. The NHS in England has also mobilised in a radical way so that they could quickly respond to any acute requirements or needs of many people that were infected by Covid-19 while scaling back all non-Coronavirus healthcare. If you are looking for a nutritionist in Hampshire then look no further.
Social care has already drastically weakened and deteriorated due to many years of decreasing public funding, in addition to increasing demands, is now out of control caused by the impacts caused by this virus, leaving many users or staff unprotected, hardly accounted for, or fatally vulnerable when it comes to all the “official” data to date.
As the days go by everyone is anticipating a faster end to this crisis, and the toll that continues to rise of Coronavirus hospitalisations and even deaths. Yet as each new week arrives, new data sources nationally are released, which is associated with a lag in time of around 4 to 6 weeks. The sources are not always perfect, with a data blind spot in home-based social care or community services. Yet these statistics have started to highlight contours associated with the infection once it took hold in the UK.
In the weeks to follow, our Health Foundation is going to publish commentaries along with charts, in an attempt to explain each dimension or facet of the disruptions of COVID-19 as events have unfolded, which will include people’s day-to-day lives and the care or health systems. At this stage, there are 5 areas at least of the impacts, and with a depth or distribution, that is still unknown.
Immediate And Direct Impacts Of The Coronavirus
The first area involves direct impacts caused by this virus, associated with serious illnesses and deaths. The first evidence released from China and then shortly after, Italy, indicated that Covid-19 seemed to impact those that are older more severely or people with serious underlying conditions. Patterns in Northern Ireland, England, and Wales were somewhat similar for the patients that ended up needing intensive care for COVID-19.
Acute Care Affects
Another area of concern relates to an indirect impact when it comes to patients with conditions that are acute that is not caused by the coronavirus. In March 2020, NHS Trusts rapidly made changes on the largest scale to the services that they provide in order to open up beds to treat Covid-19 patients. This process involved discharging many patients (in the thousands) to start freeing up space in hospitals, delaying most planned treatments, or changing appointments to an online platform when possible. They also redeployed many staff members, which was covered consistently in the media. The NHS in England also published guidance sets (more than 50) to specialists in hospitals on how to treat non-Coronavirus patients in the height of the pandemic.
Non-Acute Care And General Practices
The third area of disruption and delays affects and continues to impact patients diagnosed with chronic conditions. It also affects those that are needing medical care regarded as “less urgent”. General care covers the majority of the requirements and works to manage people with a chronic condition. From the mid-part of March 2020, general practice has undergone profound changes, based on the guidance that every practice must move over to a “remote” triage. This involves assessing patients either online or on a phone call before they will be allowed to see their GP or any other health professional. To lessen the load on capacity, many GP practices now defer routine activities which also included performing health checkups on older people (75 or older), and medication reviews. Child immunisations are another activity that has been put on hold or delayed. The public was also instructed to only contact NHS 111 instead of their doctors if they started to display COVID-19 symptoms.
The fourth area involves mid-term as well as long-term disruptions caused by government interventions that restrict movements, in efforts to slow down the transmission and rapid spread of Covid-19. Direct impacts of the lockdown and social distancing have been profound. These negative impacts have resulted in hardship, bankruptcies, neglect, unemployment, and increased levels of domestic abuse.