THERE ARE concerns that sick people are not attending GPs and hospitals in fear of coronavirus after the HSE reported a sharp drop in cancer referrals.
The National Cancer Control Programme has released a worrying statement in which they say that the number of patients with suspected cancer symptoms, such as breast, lung, prostate and skin cancer, are being referred to hospital clinics at less than half the rate as they were previous to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The NCCP are concerned that people with suspected symptoms are delaying seeking medical advice amid fears of Covid-19, and have urged anyone with possible illnesses to contact their GP.
In the statement, seen by RTÉ News, the HSE have reminded the public that all GP and hospital diagnostic services remain open during the pandemic, and there are extra measures in place in order to keep patients and staff safe.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health, had previously expressed his concern at the amount of empty hospital beds and waiting rooms he had witnessed, and urged people with any illnesses-- such as lumps and chest pain-- to seek immediate medical advice as normal.
At a press briefing on 2 April, Dr Holohan said:
"I would also like to highlight a worrying scene I witnessed during my visit to hospital on Tuesday evening; empty waiting rooms and empty beds.
"While protecting yourself from Covid-19 is a priority, no one should ignore signs that they may need medical attention for other ailments such as lumps, chest pain or other concerns.
"Please do not ignore any symptom outside of Covid-19. The hospitals are there for all ailments, not just Covid-19.”