The hidden impact of coronavirus

By Dr Wirin Bhatiani

There is no doubt that coronavirus has exacerbated the health inequalities that existed in society.

The bald statistics show us that older people, men and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) are harder hit by Covid-19.

But this is also true for people living in deprived areas, working in a frontline profession or who have ongoing medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and respiratory disease. Often the same people are in several or all of these categories.

The pandemic has also had an indirect impact on health inequalities, such as delays in the treatment for serious illnesses or people being reluctant to seek help at this time.

We will need to address these issues as the NHS starts to return to “business as usual” while still dealing with coronavirus.

Linda Nolan, of the Nolan Sisters fame, is among the celebrities with cancer who have joined doctors in urging the public to come forward for important checks.

This is a call I echo. Although GPs are working differently, they are still there for you, so give them a call if you have any concerns. If they need to see you in person, measures are in place to keep you safe.

Isolation during lockdown, and unemployment, has also had an impact on people’s mental health. Again, it is important to seek help when you need it, and many organisations can offer support: find out more in this mental health and wellbeing guide.

We are protecting our workforce by carrying out individual risk assessments, focusing on those who are more vulnerable to Covid-19. But, for all the reasons outlined, our mission to close the health gaps across society at large is more challenging than ever.

You can help us by continuing to follow the guidelines on social distancing and hygiene, and contacting your GP practice if you are concerned about your health. Prevention after all, is better than cure.

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