UK Health Service Blames Massive Fall in Surgeries on Public ‘Not Coming Forward for Care’

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Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) carried out 1.5 million fewer surgical procedures than expected in 2020, including 108,000 fewer emergency operations, according to research.

In a nationwide observational cohort study of surgical activity in England and Wales during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, the British Journal of Anaesthesia found  “a 33.6 per cent reduction in the national volume of surgical activity” over the course of 2020, linking this to the fact that a “significant proportion of healthcare resource [have] been diverted to the care of those with COVID-19.”

“In England, the NHS postponed all non-urgent surgery (including the majority of cancer surgery) from April 15, 2020 to support the response to the first wave of the pandemic,” the researchers reporting, with similar cancellations taking place in response to a second wave of infections in December.

The fall in treatment came with a reduction in certain emergency procedures which the study linked to the fact that much of the country was locked down, and were therefore not engaged in normal activities at work, outdoors, and so on which are naturally accompanied by a certain number of accidents.

The researchers estimated that the cumulative number of cancelled or postponed procedures will have risen to some 2,358,420 by the end of 2021. As was reported in 2020, “NHS England and professional bodies defended the figures by insisting hospitals were forced to cancel elective appointments to limit the spread of the virus among patients.”

Now, an NHS official has claimed: “This study is wrong to compare the data in this way, because actually the reduction in this activity occurred because fewer people came forward for care,” in a peevish response to the new research quoted by the BBC.

“This is why the NHS has been running a campaign throughout the pandemic encouraging people to access services when they need to, as normal,” the official added, acting as though people actively seeking appointments for what could have been life-saving cancer scans and other health services have not been turned away in their thousands.

“NHS staff have ensured routine operations have rebounded quickly, with 1.1 million people beginning elective treatment in April alone,” they added, stressing that “the NHS is supporting hospitals with an extra £1bn to restore care to pre-pandemic levels.”

Many people have shared stories of their desperate efforts to get the NHS to treat them going unheeded on social media, and respected charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, which provides specialist healthcare, have publicised a number of verified case studies.

One such case study, a man in his early forties named as Simon by the charity, had previously suffered from a brain tumour, and described how his scheduled scan was cancelled despite him complaining of feeling “unwell and dizzy”. He said it took “numerous phone calls to the MRI centre and to the Neurology Department” over a period of two-and-a-half months to get a scan rescheduled — “and then only as I’d ranted and complained.”

“I then had a phone call towards the end of May, to tell me ‘I’m sorry Mr Green, you were right, the brain tumour has come back, and it’s now inoperable’,” he recalled, reporting that he has now been given less than two years to live.

In another case study, a woman named Natasha who was undergoing chemotherapy for secondary breast cancer, aged just 23, had a scheduled scan cancelled “with no reason given other than Covid, and I wasn’t given a timeframe as to when I would get a scan again.”

“By the time I got my scan” — nearly five months later” — “the cancer had grown again, and it showed the chemotherapy was not working,” she reported.

“I don’t know when the cancer had started to grow again but I can’t help but think my treatment plan could have changed much sooner to combat the growth had the scan not been cancelled,” she added.

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