Two children die in NHS hospital as GP warns patients are staying away over fears they will contract coronavirus
- Dr Manpinder Sahota, from Gravesend, Kent, says people are afraid of hospitals
- The children died at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford at around three weeks ago
- GP wants to reassure patients that hospitals are disinfected and safe to attend
- Medics warn avoiding hospitals and GP surgeries is a ‘ticking time bomb’
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Two children have died in hospital as a GP raised concerns patients are staying away over fears about catching coronavirus.
GP Dr Manpinder Sahota, from Gravesend, Kent, said a paediatric consultant called him up and voiced their concerns to him after both children suffered non-Covid related deaths at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford.
Senior public health figures have repeatedly raised concerns about people not attending hospitals for non-coronavirus related conditions during the pandemic.
It comes as NHS statistics revealed April was the quietest month ever for A&E departments across England with only 916,581 emergency department visits recorded.
Priti Patel announced 351 more coronavirus deaths in Britain today, taking the official number of victims to 36,393.
Dr Manpinder Sahota, a GP from Gravesend, Kent, said a paediatric consultant called him up to say they were worried two children had died in the Dartford hospital because of a reluctance to going to hospital
Although the A&E admission figures appear to now be returning to normal levels, NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis stated there were concerns peoples’ worries about the virus and not wanting to burden the NHS were forcing them to attempt to care for themselves instead of going to to hospital.
Dr Sahota, who works at Pelham Medical Centre, said he wanted to get the message out to the public that people should go to hospital if necessary, especially children ‘because they are coming in very, very ill’.
Details regarding the two children’s ages and why they were admitted to hospital are yet to be disclosed. They died at the hospital around three weeks ago.
The Mirror reported Dr Sahota said: ‘Parents were actually frightened to bring their kids in and some of them are either dying at home or it’s too late when they do get to hospital.
‘But hospitals have been cleaned and disinfected and all the Covid patients are separated – so the risk of catching it is not huge.
‘There’s a lot of people who will be dead or dying, or have a poor prognosis as a result because of these non-Covid late presentations.’
The GP said he believes the number of non-coronavirus deaths will increase dramatically in the next three to six months.
He stated he estimates bookings to his surgery have dropped by two-thirds since the pandemic despite him trying to persuade patients to come in.
His patients reported they were too scared to come in to the surgery also resulting in a decrease in referrals, including cancer referrals.
During the crisis and subsequent lockdown, people have been avoiding hospitals out of fear of adding extra pressure to the NHS or catching the virus while they’re in the hospital, doctors say.
A&E departments saw fewer visitors than ever in April but NHS spokesman Stephen Powis said levels were beginning to return to normal
Medics warn the massive change in behaviour is a ‘ticking time bomb’ which may result in more people ending up seriously ill or dying in the near future because they avoided getting medical help when they needed it.
Dr Nick Scriven, of the Society for Acute Medicine, which represents hospital doctors, said the drop in A&E attendances in April was ‘a significant concern’ and people’s conditions may have worsened as a result.
‘This is a ticking timebomb in itself and it will be exacerbated by a myriad of other pressures in the coming weeks,’ he said.
‘There will be an ongoing need to keep people with coronavirus separate from others to prevent transmission, with segregated wards effectively reducing immediately available beds, so attempting to manage increased demand will be very challenging.’