Corona episode: Significant decline in specialist visits since March

Late consequences of the coronavirus pandemic due to missed doctor visits?

Many consequences of the coronavirus pandemic could only become apparent in the course of the next few years, because professional medical associations, health insurance companies and health insurance associations report a drastic decline in visits to specialist surgeries. Apparently, many people postpone their examinations for fear of infection.

Whether cancer prevention or caries prophylaxis - many patients prefer not to visit a specialist in times of Corona. Doctors warn of the consequences.

Specialist visits to Germany have dropped massively

According to a survey, the number of specialist visits to Germany fell massively between mid-March and early May in the high phase of the corona pandemic. This emerges from a nationwide survey by the NDR among representatives of professional associations, health insurance funds and dental associations.

According to this, cardiologists and oncologists registered between 30 and 50 percent fewer appointments. Dentists even recorded a minus of up to 80 percent. In many appointment service points of the statutory health insurance associations, inquiries decreased by up to 50 percent.

So far only estimates are available

All associations indicated that the numbers were only estimates until the current quarter was settled. They expressed concern that the cancellation of appointments could lead to life-threatening deterioration in the health of the patients. A few weeks ago, doctors and hospitals had already reported the trend that people come to the practices and clinics much less for fear of infection. So far there have been no statistics.

Diseases may have worsened

The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) fears that illnesses could have worsened due to the lack of appointments. "Patients may not go to the family doctor or may receive a referral from the family doctor to the oncologist, but they did not notice it," said KBV CEO Andreas Gassen to the NDR.

The professional association of resident hematologists and oncologists sees some clinical pictures that did not allow a delay in diagnosis and therapy. This particularly affects acute illnesses such as special leukemias or tumors, which could lead to considerable damage, explained their chairman Wolfgang Knauf. “Not to be forgotten: a striking tactile finding in the chest, which must be clarified quickly. In the case of breast cancer, the possibility of a cure might be lost if the time was delayed. ”(Vb; source: dpa)

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