Research shows impact of pandemic on people’s access to healthcare

New research shows that one in five people are worried that they could have missed out on a diagnosis and treatments due to the pandemic. 

The survey, conducted by Pfizer, revealed that around 50% of people either cancelled medical appointments or missed scheduled appointments. 

11% of adults admitted to not going to the Doctor despite feeling unwell. 

Hospital-initiated cancellations were higher among older age groups with 28% of over 65s having a hospital appointment cancelled compared to 16% of 25-34-year-olds. 

The research also shows that 43% of people believe they experienced a negative health implication due to the pandemic with many saying in the areas of mental health, diet and weight and a lack of exercise. 

Speaking about the results of the research, Paul Reid, Managing Director of Pfizer Healthcare Ireland said: 

“It’s clear from the research that people have put off going to their doctor and it is really important that anyone with an ongoing health issue visits their GP to seek help.” 

Many of those surveyed said they are concerned about developing a serious illness as they get older, with most citing cancer as their main worry. 

Other illnesses people are worried about include heart disease, Alzheimer’s and depression. 

Commenting on the outcomes of the study, Rachel Morrogh, Director of Advocacy & External Affairs at the Irish Cancer Society said: 

“It’s so important for anyone who is concerned about their health generally or who feels they may have neglected a lump or a mole to reach out for a referral. When it comes to cancer, early detection and early intervention is proven to save lives. It’s vital to seek medical attention quickly if a potential symptom is identified.” 

Speaking about the study Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy at the Irish Heart Foundation said 

“The research found that four in 10 respondents are worried that they’ll develop heart disease later in life. The Irish Heart Foundation would stress that up to 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable and that by actions such as controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, limiting alcohol intake and not smoking we can all minimise our risk of heart disease and stroke. 

“The Foundation would also urge anyone who is worried about a missed diagnosis to make that appointment that they have been putting off today and not wait until it’s too late.” 


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