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Hidden costs of COVID-19

Many people will be affected COVID-19 beyond those directly infected by it.  Lives will be lost as a result of the efforts to save lives from the virus.  This is a sad reality of the response to the pandemic.

As we focus on the potential loss of life through the virus, we need also to consider why so many others have had to put off possible life-saving treatments, or had operations cancelled.



We must also consider that the long term impact of the economic consequences will be considerable.

The problems we face are due to a decade of austerity, which made preparations for a pandemic almost impossible to achieve.

Of course, resources are always going to be stretched in such circumstances.   But it would be wrong to assume that such a pandemic was unforeseen.   On the contrary, all NHS Trusts have made some contingency plans for such a virus.

It would be easy enough to imagine that a decade of underfunding of the NHS has had no significant impact.  But it has.  And as a result, some people will now die who would not have done otherwise.

We read today of cancer drug trials being put on hold because clinicians and researchers are diverted to finding a vaccine and improved treatment for COVID-19 patients.

Major cancer drug trials are stopping recruitment with significant consequences for patients who otherwise might benefit from being on them.

Being able to put patients on drug trials is often the only way clinicians can give specific treatments to cancer patients.  It can provide a potential lifeline and prolong life, or make the end of their lives better.

This is the hidden cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is the hidden cost of underfunded and overstretched resources.


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