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24.06.20

Health Foundation: People still avoiding hospital visits

Commenting on the newly-released Office for National Statistics (ONS) data on deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, the Health Foundation’s Chief Executive, Dr Jennifer Dixon, has expressed concerns that people are still avoiding visiting hospitals over fear of catching Covid-19.

Hospital admissions have plummeted in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak as people look to avoid exposure to the virus, but as we begin to emerge out of the other side of the pandemic and begin the restoration of services there has been a need to rebuild that faith in patients.

Dr Dixon said: “Today’s data show that deaths from COVID-19, and overall excess deaths, are decreasing. But while deaths in hospital are now below normal levels, deaths at home – just over 900 excess deaths in the week ending 12 June – remain higher than usual for this time of year.

“At the same time, there has been a 30% fall in emergency admissions to hospital in May compared to the previous year. People are avoiding hospital because they are nervous of catching COVID-19. Health Foundation and Ipsos Mori polling published earlier this month found that 47% of people would feel uncomfortable using their local hospital in the short term if the need arose, and three quarters (76%) would be concerned about being exposed to COVID-19.

“As COVID-19 now recedes from hospitals, a key question is whether enough has been done to reassure people of their safety when accessing care, balanced against the risks of not seeking care.”

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