Heart attack patients are AVOIDING A&E to ‘relieve coronavirus pressure’ on NHS, doc warns – The Sun

HEART attack and stroke patients are avoiding A&E to relieve strain on the NHS, a doctor has warned.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan admitted that she has seen patients who had suffered a heart attack but delayed going to hospital because of Covid-19.

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The Labour deputy leadership candidate and A&E doctor today urged people not to put off seeking medical treatment in an emergency.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, she said: "I would urge people, please, do call 999 if you have chest pains or if you are worried you may have a stroke.

"When I did a night shift over the weekend at St George's Hospital in Tooting, I saw people who had really worrying symptoms – and they weren't coming in in time.

"They were leaving their symptoms to go on for far too long because they were trying to be nice and not overwhelm the NHS.

"But I've seen people who had had a heart attack and delayed coming to hospital because they were worried and didn't want to overwhelm staff."

Hospital contagion

Host Piers Morgan suggested that patients might be avoiding A&E over fears they might catch the virus.

Dr Allin-Khan responded: "We are there to help you and that's why it's so important that frontline staff have the personal protective equipment that they need to keep themselves and their patients safe.

"If they have the right quantities available they can protect themselves and they can change it so that they don't spread it between patients.

"We're very lucky now in St George's that there has been a big push to get the PPE and lots of local schools have donated goggles, which have been incredible.


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"But paramedics have been coming in on the weekend and saying to me they only have one set of PPE for the whole 12-hour shift which means we can't change between patients and stop the spread of the virus.

"So yes, there are people who are very worried about coming in because they obviously don't want to catch the virus themselves."

Later, Dr Allin-Khan shared a letter on Twitter which she has sent Health Secretary Matt Hancock asking "how long" NHS staff will have to wait for testing.

It says: "As you will be aware, I have been working in hospital during the Covid-19 crisis.

"As such, I would like to convey messages to you from the front line regarding mass testing and seek clarity regarding the availability of testing for NHS staff and the wider population."

She cited apparent discrepancies between the number of tests carried out on health service staff, adding that the "lack of testing is having a huge mental health impact on our NHS workforce".

Dr Allin-Khan added: "On the front line we go in to work to save lives – we welcome measures to keep the public safe by keeping them at home, protecting them from harm. In order to get ahead of this virus, I believe we need to fully understand what we are dealing with, and we can only do so by mass testing."

True toll

It comes as new figures revealed the true toll of deaths across the country from Covid-19 is higher than reports from hospitals suggest.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales shows there were 24 per cent more deaths relating to Covid-19 up to and including March 20, compared to hospital-only data for the same period.

The ONS looked at all deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned as a factor, including hospital deaths and those in the community and care homes.

A total of 210 deaths in England and Wales for the time period had Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate, compared with 170 coronavirus-related deaths reported by NHS England and Public Health Wales.

The ONS looked at deaths that occurred up to March 20 but which were registered up to March 25.

Hospital figures are of people who have tested positive for Covid-19, whereas the ONS includes all deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate, even if only suspected.

However, the ONS data does provide a much wider picture of what is happening in the community.

Separate new figures from ONS show that for the 108 deaths registered up to March 20 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, 45 were people aged 85 and over while 34 were people aged 75 to 84.

A total of 21 deaths were people aged 65 to 74, seven were people aged 45 to 64 and one death was among somebody aged 15 to 44.

As of 5pm on Sunday, 1,408 people are confirmed to have died in UK hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19.

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