Three in 10 (29%) people with a known medical condition have avoided seeing their GP or attending a hospital appointment because of fears of contracting Covid-19.
This is according to medical image analysis platform Zegami, which found women (34%) were more likely to miss or avoid seeing a medical professional because of virus worries than men (24%).
Its poll of 1,021 people from across the UK, carried out in November, found 16% of people believed they had developed a medical condition this year, but decided not to see a doctor.
Among those with known medical conditions who had avoided seeking help, 21% had a mental health condition, 14% had a skin condition, 9% had eye health issues, 7% had a heart problem and 2% had cancer.
One-fifth (22%) of people who think they had developed a medical condition during the pandemic said their perceived condition was mental-health related. Some 13% said they thought they had a skin condition, 7% worried they had a heart condition and 1% thought they had cancer.
Roger Noble, CEO and founder of Zegami said: “Our findings are very alarming. The NHS is currently running a high profile campaign urging people to get medical help if they think they have developed any medical conditions during the crisis, and to keep to any health appointments they have for existing conditions.
“Its Help Us Help You access campaign is backed by celebrities including TV chefs Gordon Ramsay, Nadiya Hussein, and actress Emma Thompson, and we fully support this.”
Recent research found that only 3% of people aged 55 and older would see their GP if they experienced symptoms of a mild cognitive impairment, such as memory loss or a decline in their ability to make decisions. However, the study by Nestlé Health Science warned these could be early signs of dementia.