Inequalities in healthcare disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from 12 UK population-based longitudinal studies

Jane Maddock*, Sam Parsons, Giorgio Di Gessa, Michael J Green, Ellen J Thompson, Anna J Stevenson, Alex SF Kwong, Eoin McElroy, Gillian Santorelli, Richard J Silverwood, Gabriella Captur, Nishi Chaturvedi, Claire J Steves, Andrew Steptoe, Praveetha Patalay, George B Ploubidis, Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

OBJECTIVES: We investigated associations between multiple sociodemographic characteristics (sex, age, occupational social class, education and ethnicity) and self-reported healthcare disruptions during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DESIGN: Coordinated analysis of prospective population surveys.

SETTING: Community-dwelling participants in the UK between April 2020 and January 2021.

PARTICIPANTS: Over 68 000 participants from 12 longitudinal studies.

OUTCOMES: Self-reported healthcare disruption to medication access, procedures and appointments.

RESULTS: Prevalence of healthcare disruption varied substantially across studies: between 6% and 32% reported any disruption, with 1%-10% experiencing disruptions in medication, 1%-17% experiencing disruption in procedures and 4%-28% experiencing disruption in clinical appointments. Females (OR 1.27; 95% CI 1.15 to 1.40; I2=54%), older persons (eg, OR 1.39; 95% CI 1.13 to 1.72; I2=77% for 65-75 years vs 45-54 years) and ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities) (OR 1.19; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.35; I2=0% vs white) were more likely to report healthcare disruptions. Those in a more disadvantaged social class were also more likely to report healthcare disruptions (eg, OR 1.17; 95% CI 1.08 to 1.27; I2=0% for manual/routine vs managerial/professional), but no clear differences were observed by education. We did not find evidence that these associations differed by shielding status.

CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic could contribute to the maintenance or widening of existing health inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere064981
Number of pages13
JournalBMJ Open
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pandemics
  • Prospective Studies
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology

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