Non-utilisation of health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic: Results of the CoMoLo study
Based on data from the CORONA-MONITORING lokal (CoMoLo) study conducted in four municipalities particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, this article investigates the non-utilisation of health care services in the population aged 18 years and older (n=9,002) in relation to the period after the introduction of the containment measures in March 2020. The results show that about one third of the respondents (35.5%) gave up at least one of the surveyed health care services. The most frequent cancellations were dental (15.2%) and specialist check-ups (11.8%), followed by postponement of physiotherapy, ergotherapy or speech therapy (6.1%), cancellation of general practitioner (GP) check-ups (5.8%), postponement of psychotherapy (2.0%), postponement of planned hospital treatment (1.8%) and not going to an emergency room (0.7%). Almost 10% of the respondents reported not visiting a physician despite health complaints. Compared to respondents without such a waiver, these respondents were more often female and younger than 35 years, less often rated their health as very good or good, more often had a diagnosis of depression and more often used telemedical contacts as an alternative to visiting the practice during the pandemic. Further analyses of trends in utilisation behaviour and changes in health status over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic are important.
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