The impact of Covid-19 on unrelated urgent and emergency presentations


Our Urgent and Emergency Care theme and Health Economics, Equality and Evaluation theme are collaborating to explore how admissions to the Emergency Department (ED) for both serious and less urgent cases has changed in England during the pandemic.

The covid-19 pandemic has changed the way patients access urgent care in England almost overnight. The most eye-catching example was a dramatic and sudden decline in patient numbers attending the ED. This project will look at routine hospital data for the whole of England to assess the impact that this has had on population health, including in the longer term.

One of the main concerns is the fall in ED admissions for patients with conditions such as stroke and heart attacks (myocardial infarction MI). This has potentially had, and continues to have, a huge effect on patient health both in the short and long-term. We will therefore be focusing on analysing data from several time-critical illnesses: strokes, MI and other cardiovascular events, aneurisms, meningitis, cancers and ruptured ectopic pregnancies.

We will also explore whether the rate of covid-19 infections and local lockdown restrictions further influenced the likelihood of patients attending urgent care systems, and what impact the level of local deprivation plays in this relationship.

We hope that this research will inform commissioners and policy makers about:

  • the impact of delays in treatment during the pandemic for long-term patient health
  • the extra costs to the NHS of future care
  • how services must respond to these challenges

We hope to identify areas most badly hit by infections and assess where interventions should be made to help services and population health return back to pre-COVID levels.


Currently Underway

Team Contact:

Senior Research Fellow

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