COVID-19 has had a serious impact on people across the UK. It has led to serious measures associated with reeling the virus in and making sure it doesn’t affect more people as time goes on. As a result, the changes that have come about impacted people’s job security, income, social contacts, and more.
The government and public health officials have taken the time to reshape everything associated with the infection and how to protect the vulnerable. This was done while cutting the budget, which made it more likely for the NHS to focus on the acute needs of people that were impacted by the virus while reducing the amount of time spend on other types of health care. This has also led to a situation where social care has been weakened and the funding has gone down with a lot of staff members getting exposed to the virus itself.
A lot of people have started focusing on the impact of the virus and the numbers that are coming in based on the deaths/hospitalisations. There is data coming in based on what is going on but it is a month behind due to the natural lag that comes with such figures. This can lead to certain flaws in responding to the data, especially for social care services.
In the coming weeks, the Health Foundation is going to be releasing specific charges illustrating the impact COVID-19 has had on the country and its system. There are specific dimensions of impact that have been listed. However, it is important to note the overall impact of these dimensions is still unknown and being researched as it unfolds including how it effects a person’s daily life.
The primary dimension is as simple as the direct impact of COVID-19. This is seen through death and the symptoms associated with the virus. Based on the research that was done, the virus that spread from China was more likely to kill those who were older and/or had existing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and/or ischaemic heart disease to name a few. It was also reported a lot of the patients that died were male. This was a pattern that was noticed in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Effect on Acute Care
The second dimension associated with COVID-19 had to do with indirect impact. This had to do with those who were dealing with acute conditions associated with the virus. The NHS took the time to refocus its services across the board when it came to patients of COVID-19. This meant discharging specific patients in a bid to free up beds by postponing treatment for other conditions while redeploying staff members. NHS England had specific guidelines in place as to which patients were to be treated during the pandemic.
The third dimension had to do with patients that had chronic conditions or didn’t require urgent care. In these cases, most of the work is done by general practise. In the middle of March, what general practise was capable of doing changed due to the guidelines. This means the practises were moved to remote triage and all of the patients were to be assessed over the phone or online before getting to a GP. This was done to free up in-person facilities that were required for those dealing with COVID-19. It became possible to defer specific appointments including routine medication reviews.
Lockdown and Social Distancing
The fourth dimension had to do with the overall impact of COVID-19 when it came to the interventions. This had to do with kerbing the virus and making sure it didn’t spread any more than it had in the region. This was done by having a widespread lockdown to restrict movement as a way to stop the virus. This had an impact on people because of unemployment, bankruptcies, domestic abuse, hardship, and neglect.