Hospital admissions plummeted by up to 90 per cent for some of the deadliest conditions and illnesses during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, sparking fears that the government’s ‘Protect the NHS‘ message home may have backfired.
While Britons were told to ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’ – a message used at the height of lockdown in April to discourage households from mixing – the number of heart attack checks reduced by almost half.
Heart disease, a major cause of heart attacks, is the UK’s leading cause of deaths.
Meanwhile, consultations for the most common cancers also dropped by up to two thirds.
The figures, which come from analysis of data published in the Daily Telegraph today, have been described as ‘staggering’ by experts, some of whom warn the UK could see 35,000 more cancer deaths within a year as a knock of the pandemic.
Others have warned that the government ‘must get the messaging right’, and urged those in need of medical treatment to speak to their doctor.