Responding to the publication of the NHS England's monthly performance statistics, Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:
'Today’s figures show coronavirus is having a seismic impact on how people are using the NHS, with a 57% reduction in the number of people visiting A&E and 30% fewer GP referrals for routine procedures, when compared to the same time last year. This unprecedented shift in the way people are using health services – while it does ease the immediate pressures on the NHS – is a major concern and could mean that potentially urgent health problems are going undiagnosed or chronic problems are getting worse.
'Understandably people may be fearful or not wish to use NHS services at this time, but if people are not accessing the care they need we risk storing up higher levels of health problems for the future.
'The NHS is rightly urging people to seek the care and treatment they need. However it is vital to understand who is staying away and why, so that the message that 'the NHS is open' can reach the right people fast.'
Chief Executives of the Health Foundation, The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust will appear at a Health and Social Care Select Committee evidence session later today (14 May), highlighting some of the key challenges in restarting NHS and social care services in the months ahead.
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