8 June 2020

Covid-19 is Creating an 'Epidemic of Loneliness', Says RCGP in Response to 'Undetected' Home Deaths

College Chair Martin Marshall appears in the Guardian's front page story today, commenting on cases of people dying alone at home during COVID-19, but whose deaths are going unnoticed

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic is also creating an epidemic of loneliness, not just for older people, and sadly there are some people who will fall through the net.

"GPs are working hard to check on their patients who are shielding and NHS volunteers have been doing a good job of looking after vulnerable people in their communities. But we are noticing an increase in people dying in the community, often at home and often due to conditions unrelated to COVID-19, such as cardiac arrest.

"If people are choosing not to seek medical attention for non-COVID illnesses for fear of catching the virus, or because they are worried about being a burden on the NHS, then it is incredibly concerning.

"They can be reassured that the NHS is here for them, and that we will do whatever we can to keep them as safe as possible whilst they are accessing care.

"Wherever possible, we would ask people to check on their neighbours - with appropriate social distancing measures in place - and alert the authorities if they have any concerns. Charities such as Age UK also have excellent tips on how communities can help each other during this difficult time."

Further Information
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The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.