Accessing healthcare before, during and after the pandemic

by Barry Smith, Claire Hopkins, Katherine Whitcroft, Chris Kelly, Duika L Burges Watson and Vincent Deary for the British Academy

2021
School of Advanced Study, University of London
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This position paper is an attempt to reflect on what we have learned from responses to COVID-19 by the healthcare sector, the research community and patient groups and to understand what could usefully be learned about the configuration of collaborative working between these three sectors that could improve trust in medicine and science and better serve society in the aftermath of the pandemic. We look at the ways in which the pandemic increased social awareness of lesser known ‘invisible’ disabilities that patients have suffered from with little help or understanding. We take olfactory dysfunction (anosmia and parosmia) as a case study, with comparison to Functional Neurological Disorder, as examples where chronic symptoms (smell loss, fatigue) suddenly became acute during the coronavirus outbreak, drawing increased attention from the public, from healthcare services and from scientific researchers.

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