Doctors unable to give non-Covid patients care they need – study

Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment Credit: Jacob King/PA

Doctors are struggling to give non-coronavirus patients the important care they need, due to the pandemic, a survey has suggested.

Thousands of medics also said the long-term impact of Covid-19 on NHS demand was their greatest concern for the future, according to research from the British Medical Association (BMA).

More than half of the 16,000 members questioned said the pandemic was worsening the care of those without the illness, with almost 30% saying current conditions had left them short of supplies such as medicines or oxygen.

The chairman of the BMA council says patients are being “neglected” and he is concerned about a “sudden spike in demand” when Covid cases begin to drop.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul added: “Before any lockdown measures are eased, the Government has rightly insisted that the NHS must be able to cope.

“These results clearly show that this is not just about Covid, but also a potential surge in other patients who may have put off accessing healthcare or indeed had their treatment deferred.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth has called on ministers to “come forward with a funded, credible plan to help the NHS get ready to meet this growing need.”

An NHS spokesman said the poll was a “sad statement of the obvious”.

“Like every other health service around the world, hospitals in this country have had to adapt quickly and decisively to deal with the greatest public health threat in over a century.

“It’s a source of pride for the NHS that every coronavirus patient who needs hospital care has been able to receive it, and NHS emergency services have been available to all patients, with or without Covid-19, throughout this pandemic.”