WIDER patient care during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is being neglected - and that could end up causing long term problems for the NHS is terms of clinical demand, Welsh doctors fear.

More than 830 frontline doctors across Wales were surveyed for the British Medical Association (BMA), out of 15,000 UK-wide,.

And approaching two-thirds of those from Wales said care for patients not affected by Covid-19 is either significantly worsening (37 per cent) or slightly worsening (25 per cent).

Forty per cent of doctors surveyed in Wales also stated that their biggest concern is longer term care for patients.

BMA Cymru, which represents doctors across Wales, fears that in the midst of the biggest health crisis in recent history, the health needs of patients have not disappeared, but their care has effectively been placed on hold whilst the NHS deals with the pandemic.

There are serious concerns that some patients may have deteriorated and possibly died as a result.

“The message we’re getting from doctors is clear; they are worried about the impact this pandemic will have in the long term for patients," said Gwent GP Dr David Bailey, who chairs the BMA’s Welsh Council.

"Whilst getting through this pandemic is the highest priority at present, equally high on the list must be ensuring that measures are in place to manage patient demand when we come out the other side.

“Already, one-in-four doctors said they have been redeployed to cope with the pandemic, and if they return to their usual work as services resume, this would reduce the workforce available for dealing with the demand from Covid-19 care.

“We know that many ill patients are not getting the care they need now - they are risking their conditions getting worse and some may even die as a result.

"Once this current situation eases, there will be a spike in demand, including from patients with far more acute illnesses, caused by a delay in timely treatment. It is vital that the Welsh NHS engages with its clinicians and plans for this now.

“Welsh Government must set out a clear plan of how the system will have capacity both for the ongoing demands of the pandemic, as well as resuming services for those patients whose care has effectively been frozen.”