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Use of primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic: May 2021 update Patient-level data analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on primary care activity in England

4 May 2021

Less than a minute to read
  • These charts explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on primary care up to the end of January 2021. The analysis adds to the high-level picture given by NHS Digital appointment data, allowing us to match activity to patients by age, sex, geographical region, ethnicity and whether a person has any pre-existing conditions.
  • In the coming weeks we will be publishing further analysis exploring the impact of the pandemic on referrals for suspected cancer. Sign up for updates from the REAL Centre to find out when this is published.

We have used a patient-level primary care data set, the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), to explore primary care activity and outcomes from a subset of practices. Unlike the high level NHS Digital appointment data, this patient-level data allows us to match consultations to patients by age, sex, geographical region, ethnicity and whether they have been diagnosed with non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The data provide the most detailed view that we can access of the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying lockdown has brought about.

This analysis is based on a sample of 500,000 patients. The patient histories, diagnoses and consultations allow for a much deeper understanding of primary care than is currently publicly available. The data is provided by patients and collected by the NHS as part of their care and support.

The analysis uses CPRD protocol number 20_143.

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