A lack of diabetes checks following the first Covid lockdown may have killed more than 3,000 people, a major NHS study suggests.
Those with the condition are supposed to undergo regular checks to detect cardiac problems, infections and other changes that could prove deadly.
But researchers said a move to remote forms of healthcare delivery and a reduction in routine care meant some of the most crucial physical examinations did not take place during the 12 months following the first lockdown.
Experts said the findings showed patients had suffered “absolutely devastating” consequences and were being “pushed to the back of the queue”.
The study, led by Prof Jonathan Valabhji, the national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, links the rise in deaths to a fall in care the previous year.
It showed that, during 2020/21, just 26.5% of diabetes patients received their full set of checks, compared with 48.1% the year before.
Those who got all their checks in 2019-20 but did not receive them the following year had mortality rates 66% higher than those who did not miss out, the study, published in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, found.
The study shows that foot checks, which rely on physical appointments, saw the sharpest drop, falling by more than 37%.
“The care process with the greatest reduction was the one that requires the most in-person contact – foot surveillance – possibly reflecting issues around social distancing, lockdown measures, and the move to remote forms of healthcare delivery,” the study found. Those in the poorest areas were most likely to miss out.
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Source: The Telegraph, 30 May 2022