More than half of people receiving treatment for long-term physical or mental health conditions before the coronavirus pandemic have had their care cancelled or reduced, figures suggest.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak, 63% of 660 adults with a physical or mental health condition or illness had been receiving medical care, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Of these, less than a third (31%) said their treatment had started or continued as normal since the outbreak.
A similar proportion (30%) said they had received reduced treatment, or care for only some of their conditions, while a fifth (21%) said their treatment had been cancelled.
Of those whose care was cancelled or disrupted, around a quarter (24%) said they feel their health has deteriorated in this time.
Helen Buckingham, director of strategy at the Nuffield Trust, said: “These figures illustrate the painful decisions that had to be taken during the peak of the pandemic.
“Sadly, the problems caused by coronavirus are far from over for the NHS or for patients.
“Our report today shows that the service started with less spare capacity than its counterparts abroad, and this growing backlog of people who have missed out on treatment will continue to make access to care very difficult in the months ahead.
“We must get testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) right to improve the situation, and contain the virus so that it doesn’t start all over again.”
The ONS analysed responses from 1,606 people aged 16 and over in Great Britain who were polled between July 15 and 19 as part of its Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.
It also found that more than six in 10 adults with children who will be of school age in September are very or somewhat worried about them starting the next school year.
The most common concerns were fears about their children catching Covid-19 when attending school or college (58%), and worry about the mental health and wellbeing of their children due to changes brought about by the virus (42%).