One in eight people over the age of 50 in England had a hospital operation or treatment canceled last year, a study by UCL found.
Eye and cancer-related surgery have been the most common treatments that have been put on hold, as blockade restrictions have disrupted health care.
According to the research, which analyzed data from more than 7,000 adults, elderly patients and those who had the worst health suffered the most.
About 20 percent of people with two or more existing medical conditions have had an operation or other form of treatment canceled.
Despite the difficulty in securing appointments, diagnoses for conditions such as arthritis, chronic lung disease and diabetes are all heightened by pre-pandemic levels. “Fewer opportunities for physical activity and social interaction could play a role,” said Paola Zaninotto, UCL academic and lead author of the study.
At the same time, far fewer cases of dementia have been diagnosed. About 3.6 adults per 1,000 were diagnosed with dementia in November and December 2020 compared to 9.1 per 1,000 before the pandemic.
In addition to barriers to accessing health care, Zaninotto said this could be because social isolation meant “cognitive decline went unnoticed” by friends and relatives.