Unforeseen Consequences of Covid 19

What have been the unforeseen consequences of Covid-19, its impact on the patients attending the NHS Centre for Integrative Care, Glasgow.

Written By Dr Rona Agnew

On May 31, 2020
Rona Agnew (PhD, RN) - Chair of the Friends, recently retired from the NHS after 39 years service - Now active campaigner for patient rights, choices and dignity in health care.
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As many of us struggle with the recent developments and subsequent isolation with COVID -19, many of us have probably not really given it much thought about the thousands of patients who haven’t got COVID-19 but normally use the NHS services to support them to live.   Many health care workers and government officials have advised us recently that if you have a non-COVID-19 condition that requires NHS then we should visit our GP practice or A&E departments as normal.  However, it has not been normal for most of us.   Many of us have been left to fend for ourselves, taking self-management to a whole new concept.

With the ever-increasing anxieties of the new world we found ourselves in with the lockdown, it appeared that little consideration was given by politicians and health care bosses to the patients using the Centre for Integrative Care.

However, as usual, the NHS staff at the Centre rose to the challenge and the service has continued to provide online and telephone support to patients during this time and provided some much-needed voice at the end of the phone.  The Centre for Integrative Care has continued to support patients in whichever way they can. Many of the patients have had a telephone consultation to ensure that they are coping and managing during this difficult time.

While it would appear other patients and services have been able to use the Centre for Integrative care building during the COVID-19 lockdown, we’re left asking why the patients requiring integrative care at the Centre were not allowed to attend for their treatments.  How have other patients managed to use the facilities safely when we were not.  Indeed, what will happen when the crisis is over. Will we get the space back? Or will this provide a long-awaited excuse to say that we managed without this valued service during this time, so we can do without it now?

Equally worrying, was the fact that many patients with chronic pain were left without any option of support, and many of them were left to just get on with it. Many of them were forced to go private and travel to England just to survive. How could they get what they needed privately, yet not able to get this via NHS services?

How can patients who have been clinically assessed as requiring support from NHS Services be forgotten and the services simply shut down during times of crisis?  Many patients with chronic pain have stated that their services are ‘crisis services’ as their pain doesn’t simply disappear. For many patients living with chronic pain, getting their infusion is life and death for them, with many contemplating suicide as they simply can’t live with the pain they experience.

If you have been affected by the closure of the Centre during the COVID-19 crisis we would love to hear your story.  Equally, should we be using the Centre to better support patients looking for an integrative way to support their health and well-being such as the patients left in limbo with chronic pain?   Who else could have been better supported?  What are your thoughts?  We would love to hear from you. Get in touch in the comment section below.

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