A paramedic working for the NHS: “It’s heartbreaking, people dying at home, help denied them.” A&E chiefs believe many people who could be saved are too scared to go to the hospital.
As coronavirus patients flood clinics and hospitals, it’s putting people with other health issues from cancer to pregnancy in a precarious position, they are simply too frightened of contracting the virus that has already killed thousands in the UK.
The coronavirus crisis has led to a sharp rise in the number of seriously ill people dying at home because they are reluctant to call for an ambulance, doctors and paramedics have warned.
A&E chiefs last week revealed that dozens more people than usual are dying at home of a cardiac arrest, potentially related to coronavirus, each day before ambulance crews can reach them.
A&E chiefs’ said that on the weekend of April 4-5 the number of 999 calls in which someone had had a cardiac arrest rose from 55 a day in normal times to 140, most of the people concerned died, doctors said.
“People don’t want to go near hospital,” said an NHS source, “As a result, salvageable conditions are not being treated, those dying at home of coronavirus are not included in the initial daily government updates.”
With the number of patients attending A&E plummeting, NHS leaders moved last week to urge the public to continue to seek help if they have a serious health problem. An NHS spokesperson said: “Anybody who needs urgent help – people experiencing heart failure, or expectant mums worried about their baby – should absolutely come forward and seek help from their local NHS.
“There is no doubt that, as the chief medical officer said, coronavirus is putting more pressure on NHS services, but NHS staff are freeing up thousands more beds for critical care whilst also keeping other essential services running, so parents, relatives and anyone worried about their health should continue to use their NHS.”