The British Heart Foundation has warned that almost half of patients with heart disease have found it difficult to access care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients with heart and circulatory diseases have also found it hard to obtain the medications they need in lockdown.
The charity attributes patients’ difficulties in accessing medical care to a combination of reluctance to seek care for fear of contracting COVID-19 or putting additional pressure on the health service, and the cancellation or postponement of consultations and procedures.
Delayed or missed interventions for heart and circulatory conditions may have a damaging impact on people’s health or even cause an increase in deaths. In addition, if patients get more seriously ill while awaiting hospital investigations and treatment, this will increase pressure on the NHS as it struggles to restart services after the COVID-19 pandemic.