A new report suggests that there has been a significant decline in the number of individuals attending hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments in England since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Researchers assessed the number of attendances at A&E departments in two hospitals in Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust; they also looked at the wider picture across hospitals in England.
There was a 35 per cent reduction in the number of individuals attending A&E at the two Imperial College Healthcare hospitals, compared with the figures expected from historical trends. Importantly, there was a 48 per cent reduction in non-COVID-19 A&E admissions at the Imperial College Healthcare hospitals compared with the previous years.
At Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, attendances fell by 60 per cent for acute coronary syndromes, 26 per cent for strokes, 52 per cent for obstetric emergencies, 21 per cent for perinatal emergencies and 47 per cent for cancer-related emergency visits. The decrease in visits to A&E was primarily in individuals aged
There was a 64 per cent decline in attendances for injuries, which could be partly attributable to fewer injuries occurring due to a decreased frequency of travel, as a result of lockdown.
The study author Dr Michaela Vollmer said: "The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has highly affected the emergency-care seeking behaviour of patients in England. The altered use of emergency department services by the public is a very worrying development that has to be addressed urgently."