TENS OF MILLIONS OF SURGERIES POSTPONED, LOSSES MOUNT FOR HOSPITALS

Tens of millions of surgeries are being postponed as a result of the pandemic, The Economist reported on May 18, 2020, with the UK's National Health Service (NHS) saying it has already postponed more than 2-million planned operations and freed up 12,000 beds for COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals worldwide have cut back on routine surgeries and procedures to maintain patient safety, and to free up capacity for the deluge of coronavirus patients, The Economist stressed.


“How many operations have been delayed or cancelled? Many governments do not publish timely data. To estimate the impact, researchers at the University of Birmingham asked doctors around the world directly, surveying more than 500 specialists from 359 hospitals in 71 countries. They plugged the data into a statistical model to estimate cancellation rates across 190 countries. They assumed that, based on the experience of China, health-care systems are typically disrupted by the coronavirus for 12 weeks. The study found that, in that space of time, globally, more than 28m elective surgeries have been or will be cancelled or postponed. Of these, the vast majority, 26m, will be for benign conditions. But 2.3 million cancer surgeries will also be delayed, as will nearly half a million elective Caesarean sections,” the publication revealed.


Private hospitals are already feeling the financial pinch, with the American Hospital Association (AHA) saying providers are losing an estimated $50 billion a month because of the pandemic, which has diverted resources away from lucrative elective surgeries. Clearing the backlog of surgeries will be difficult, too. The authors of the study estimate that this could take 45 weeks, assuming that hospitals can increase their surgical volume by a fifth. “Doctors will also have to decide which patients should have priority when surgeries resume. Although some cases, such as tonsillectomy or weight-loss surgeries, can be delayed with little harm, others will have to be considered on a case-by-case basis,” said The Economist. #coronavirusimpact #COVID19

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