Coronavirus has seemingly taken precedent over everything else over the last year and the costs of this disparity will soon come to bear on the healthcare system, warned Angus Dalgleish, infectious diseases expert and professor of oncology, on GMB on Monday. “Cancer patients have had a very raw deal because of lockdown,” noted prof Dalgleish. He continued: “We’ve seen the NHS converted into a massive Covid service and a tremendous disparity means some hospitals have stepped up to the plate, and they have split down the middle a Covid service and kept the NHS going.”
This adaptability has come at an enormous cost, however.
“I’m horrified at the number of hospitals that have just given up, treating everybody else,” said prof Dalgleish.
He continued: “We are now going to wreak a whirlwind of people who have not had their cancers diagnosed and treated early – cardiac procedures etc. and attention to mental health.
“This has just built up and it’s going to be an enormous whirlwind, tsunami of ill health hitting the NHS.”
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Lara Montgomery, who was diagnosed with womb cancer in 2019, said the phrase ‘Freedom Day’ did not accurately represent “the feeling of the whole country”.
“I think the terminology of “Freedom Day” is awful, it just doesn’t capture the feeling of the whole country,” she told the PA news agency.
Ms Montgomery continued: “For a lot of people… it’s not freedom day at all.
“People are just going to become too relaxed (and) the situation for people like ourselves… is going to become really frightening.”
Ms Montgomery said she is apprehensive to go shopping and that with restrictions lifting she felt “growing fear” that people will choose not to continue with voluntary measures.
“I think that from freedom day things won’t be as rigid and this is the effect of it, (Covid) ends up in our home despite us being so careful”, she explained.
She continued: “It’s been a growing fear for us, I think initially we thought we could control it and stay safe and we could keep our own safety as a bubble but as things have gone on it’s become more difficult.
“I find going to the supermarket really frightening, because it’s where you have your personal space invaded the most.”
She added: “In most arenas you can stay fairly safe but you go shopping and people are reaching over and I can just see it, come Monday, very few people will wear masks.’
Ms Montgomery’s wife Theresa, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in November 2020, was recently admitted to hospital after catching the virus from their son.
Recalling her experience in hospital, she said: “It was that point at which I thought this is really happening still.
“There are so many people who are contracting it and I think the stats recently show that, so how can Monday happen when it’s still in full flow?”