Coronavirus Australia Updates: Doctors alarmed by emergency fall-off

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The incidence of cases of chest pain and stroke at emergency departments has fallen markedly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with fears sufferers may be experiencing disability in isolation from healthcare providers.

Doctors are baffled as to whether the decreased incidence of stroke in emergency departments means fewer people are suffering them, or whether people are having strokes in the same numbers but not seeking care.

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A paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that at four Western Sydney hospitals, there was an overall 25 per cent decrease in the number of presentations at emergency departments. At the same time, mental health presentations and substance misuse had risen by almost a quarter.

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The study analysed triage and separations data for the period between March 29 and May 31 in 2019 and 2020 in the four hospitals with EDs in the Western Sydney Local Health District.

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