ONE million fewer people have attended A&E in England this month, sparking fears deadly problems are being missed.
There were 2.1million attendances at A&E in England in April last year but visits this month were 50 per cent lower.
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The British Heart Foundation has reported a 50 per cent fall in heart attack patients at A&E.
And Cancer Research UK said the number of referrals by doctors for urgent hospital checks was down 75 per cent.
They estimate 2,300 cancers are being missed every week as a result, with many operable cancers becoming untreatable.
The NHS will launch an ad campaign next week urging sick Brits to visit their GP or hospital, or dial 999 or 111.
Many are thought to be staying away out of fear they may catch coronavirus – even with serious symptoms of heart attack, cancer and stroke.
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Four in ten Brits say they have avoided making an appointment with their family doctor because they do not want to be a burden.
But NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens said: “While NHS staff have pulled out all the stops to deal with coronavirus they have also worked hard to ensure that patients who don’t have Covid-19 can safely access essential services.
“So whether you or a loved one have the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, are a parent worried about their child or have concerns about conditions such as cancer you should seek help in the way you always would.
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“Ignoring problems can have serious consequences – now or in the future.”
Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, yesterday admitted he was “very worried” about the decline in hospital attendances for non-coronavirus care.
He told MPs on the Common’s Science and Technology Committee that an economic crisis caused by the virus could also hit the health of the nation hard.
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