Fears are growing that thousands of individuals are going to die or suffer unduly as a result of conditions or symptoms not related to COVID-19.
Cancer charities are among those who say that many individuals – some in the middle of treatment – are not coming forward to access care, or diagnosis, as awareness of the pandemic spreads.
It is though that many individuals feel worried about entering hospital because they may fear contracting COVID-19, while there are others who believe they can “soldier on” while others COVID-19 patients receive more pressing care.
Charities and medical organisations say this could result in further health problems and earlier deaths down the line.
Cancer Research UK said that treatment rates have fallen by as much as 50% in some parts of the country during the COVID-19 lockdown, meaning thousands of patients will have had treatment stopped or delayed.
That could mean late diagnosis, delays to further treatment – with potentially fatal consequences.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said the number of patients coming forward with possible cancer symptoms was dropping sharply and he was “really concerned” about it.
The concerns follow warnings that referrals by GPs for cases of suspected cancer have fallen by up to 80% in the last month.
Some health officials have said that the rush to deal with COVID-19 has left some patients behind.
Others, though, say that without dealing with COVID-19 as quickly as possible, there will be greater collateral damage all around in the end.