Article 08.10.2020

Data reveals Covid-19 impact on health services and mortality

Early results from a study supported by NIHR ARC East of England published in the international Journal of Psychiatric Research this week, show that use of mental health and community physical health services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough decreased during the first pandemic peak, and mortality risk increased for people with serious mental illness.

Principal investigator and CPFT consultant psychiatrist Dr Rudolf Cardinal worked with lead author, postdoctoral research associate Dr Shanquan Chen, and the research team to review anonymous data from CPFT’s Research Database and clinical records systems to find key patterns.

Rudolf (pictured left) said: “We measured changes in mental health and community physical health service referrals, activity and mortality associated with the pandemic and lockdown, across our local population of 0.86 million. Referrals and self-presentations to mental and physical health services dropped substantially at lockdown, and have increased slowly again afterwards.

"Some of this was undoubtedly due to service changes, but there was no evidence of a corresponding increase in demand for mental health emergency services like 111 and crisis teams. Mortality increased, primarily for people over 70, but even more for patients with severe mental illness, who should be considered a high risk group during the pandemic." Read the findings in full here.