Last year, 140,000 operations were delayed because of coronavirus and hundreds of people died after accidents as there were no beds for them in intensive care, according to new research.
The figures come from the SKR, an alliance of organisations which monitor standards across the healthcare system, and are derived from an analysis of the details of 10 million patients.
In 2018 and 2019, for example, 2.4% of the people who ended up in a hospital accident and emergency department after an accident or fall died from their injuries. But last year, that rose to 2.9%, a ‘significant’ increase indicating hundreds more people died, the SKR reportedly told broadcaster NOS.
Meanwhile, the number of people going to hospital because they had the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke fell by 15% in the first wave last year.
Delays in cancer operations and diagnoses are also now clear, and many patients have more advanced tumours when they first seen than in previous years, the SKR figures suggest.
The cabinet has urged hospitals to catch up on all waiting lists by the end of this year, but hospital chiefs have said this is an unrealistic target.
Meanwhile, research by the Dutch brain foundation indicates 40% of people have been doing more exercise – particularly walking and cycling – since the start of the coronavirus crisis and 80% plan to keep up this new pattern of behaviour once things return to normal.
‘Many people have become more aware of their health and how important it is,’ spokeswoman Koko Beers said.
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