First coronavirus wave had major impact on healthcare; 50,000 healthy years of living were lost

A doctor checking the pulse of a patient on an infusion
A doctor checking the pulse of a patient on an infusion

The first wave of coronavirus in the Netherlands and the impact on regular healthcare has led to the loss of 50,000 years of healthy living, the public health institute RIVM said on Tuesday.

‘Many patients faced delayed appointments and treatment and some patients cancelled their appointments because they were worried about becoming infected or did not want to be a burden on the healthcare system,’ the RIVM said.

The knock-on effect of this has been to reduce some people’s life expectancy and to damage the quality of life enjoyed by others. In total, at least 50,000 good years have been lost, with most down to the impact on quality of life, the RIVM said.

Earlier this month the Dutch pathologists association NVVP said there was an ‘alarming’ drop in the number of diagnoses for serious diseases during the pandemic.

In total, 10% to 15% fewer cases of serious disease have been identified than in recent years and adults and children are equally affected.

In particular, pathologists report a 25% drop in the number of people taking part in population-based screenings for cervical, colon and breast cancer.

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