Data Access Register - full project summary
|Project Title||Understanding the impacts of healthcare disruption on health|
|Lead Applicant||Mark Green|
|Organisation(s) Name(s)||University of Glasgow|
We will study the impacts of health care disruption (e.g., delays and confusion over service delivery) in the UK. We will examine the experiences of those individuals affected by this disruption, including whether it has affected their health. We will share the findings with policy makers, NHS care managers, and politicians to help inform:
Our study will help benefit patients and lessen the effects of the problem.
Having access to the linked data is necessary to understand the experiences of patients. We do not know exactly how people used healthcare services during the pandemic in the surveys. While people in the surveys are asked if they experienced some disruption, how this relates to their actual use of healthcare is unclear. The linked data will allow us to examine the types of healthcare people used, their experiences, and any health conditions diagnosed during the pandemic. Only through having access to all of this information can we begin to track how healthcare disruption impacts health. This is not currently possible through other data sources. We are not aware of another study doing this research.
|Results & Impact||
Health services across the UK struggled to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many treatments were postponed or cancelled. For example, there were fewer GP or hospital appointments, cancer treatments and scheduled surgeries. Sometimes there were no medications available for people who needed them.
We looked at the experiences of those people affected by this disruption. We wanted to find out if this had an effect on their health. For example, if people ended up in being in hospital for conditions that may have been prevented.
We used data on 29,000 people in England from seven longitudinal (measurements taken over time) cohort (a group of people) studies linked to electronic health records from NHS England through UK Longitudinal Linkage Collaboration.
35% of people had some form of disrupted access to healthcare and these people were more likely to end up in hospital as an emergency. For most people this was because they missed appointments or treatments.
Only small number of people ended up in hospital because they couldn’t get medications. This is because pharmacies were open during the pandemic and coped well.
Our findings show the need to invest in the health system to deal with the negative effects of healthcare disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.