First lockdown reduced attendance in emergency departments

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When assessing emergency department attendance before and during the first COVID-19 national lockdown, Imperial College London researchers found that numbers dropped, particularly in certain age groups as shown in a new cross-sectional study.

To limit the spread of the new COVID-19 virus, the UK government initiated a nationwide lockdown on 23 March 2020. Following this, research funded by the NIHR Imperial BRC has looked at the impact on admission rates to emergency departments in North West London, with particular focus on whether changes were related to age demographic.

In this study, the Imperial College London team, including Kate Honeyford, Graham Cooke and Ceire Costelloe, found that while all rates declined, the most noticeable reduction was in the under 18s, and those presenting with gastroenteritis and appendicitis.

As the study was small, it’s difficult to draw conclusions as to why this was so, but this proves the importance of instigating a wider study to interrogate these changes.

The full study can be found here.

Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash