Coronavirus response could create 'very serious unintended consequences'

Coronavirus response could create 'very serious unintended consequences'

James Illman, HSJ correspondent

  • Non-coronavirus patients at serious risk due to huge focus on fighting virus
  • NHSE tasked with identifying risk groups and building intervention plan
  • News follows major slump in A&E attendances especially of heart-related cases

National NHS leaders are to take action over growing fears that the “unintended consequences” of focusing so heavily on tackling COVID-19 could do more harm than the virus, HSJ has learned. 

NHS England analysts have been tasked with the challenging task of identifying patients who may not have the virus but may be at risk of significant harm or death because they are missing vital appointments or not attending emergency departments, with both the service and public so focused on COVID-19. 

A senior NHS source familiar with the programme told HSJ: “There could be some very serious unintended consequences [to all the resource going into fighting coronavirus]. While there will be a lot of COVID-19 fatalities, we could end up losing more ‘years of life’ because of fatalities relating to non-COVID-19 health complications..."

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