From bedroom to boardroom, from our NHS to our education system, from employment and unemployment, Covid has and will continue to affect not just our behaviour about visiting A & E departments, but our whole world, wherever we live.
The number of people visiting all four Kent NHS Trust’s A&Es when comparing April 2019 to April 2020 fell by 45%. Comparing Dec 2019 to Dec 2020 the fall was just 24%. Thankfully people have become less fearful of visiting A & E, even with a more transmissible variant in our communities.
This is evidenced in the latest NHS England data for A & E visits to all Kent Trusts – Dartford & Gravesham, East Kent Hospital NHS Trust, Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and Medway NHS Trust.
The fall in visits to all Kent Trust A & Es between Apr – Dec 2019 and April – Dec 2020 fell by 20%. That means 86,495 fewer people visited Trust A & Es when comparing the two nine month periods.
Obviously Covid has played a significant role in people not visiting A & E in Kent and beyond.
The size of the population each Kent Trust serves reflects the visits it receives. So East Kent Hospital Trust is the largest in Kent, and as such gets the most visits to A & E.
Dealing with each Trust individually and in alphabetical order, there are falls for 3 out of four of them in excess of 20% each.
Dartford and Gravesham has seen a 22.56% fall in visits to its A & Es. To put this is into numbers that 19,601 people less visiting A & E. This Trust serves a local population of over 500,000 people.
East Kent Hospitals is one of the largest Trusts in the country, serving a population of around 720,500. It has seen a fall in its A & E use of 17.48%, meaning 24,964 fewer people have used A & E when comparing the two nine periods of 2019 and 2020. This is the smallest fall of any Trust in Kent.
Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells Trust cares for around 560,000 people living in the south of West Kent and the north of East Sussex. It has seen a fall in the use of its A & E departments of 20.68%, meaning 26,376 less people have used A & E services.
Medway NHS Trust serves a population of more than 424,000 across Medway and Swale. It has seen a fall in the use of its A & E department of 24.52% or 17,554 fewer people.
It would appear that the peak of Covid patients occupying Trust beds happened between the 4 – 6 Jan 2021, according to NHS England data. However, we must wait a little longer to see if the seven day rolling average confirms this.
This does NOT mean we are out of the woods. So we must continue to stay at home, to save lives and protect our NHS, which has done an incredible job in such difficult circumstances.
The late great Health Statistician Hans Rosling made it clear “The world is run from the bedrooms.”, and given that, we strongly suspect the number of children who will have been conceived during the Covid pandemic will have fallen. If as we suspect this turns out to be true, it will go onto affect our wider world in quite profound ways in years to come.
As we said at the beginning, so we say at the end, from bedroom to boardroom, from our NHS to our education system, from employment and unemployment, Covid has and will continue to impact not just our behaviour about visiting A & E departments, but our whole world, wherever we live on planet earth.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful