‘Petrified’ elderly are being ‘left behind’ in coronavirus battle'


Hampstead and Highgate physio warns

Michael Boniface

Published: 2:42 PM April 28, 2020 Updated: 2:04 PM October 14, 2020 in Ham and High

Sammy Margo is visiting many elderly patients in Hampstead and Highgate who she says don't want to be a "burden" on the NHS.

A Hampstead and Highgate physiotherapist has warned the elderly are in danger of being “left behind” as NHS resources pour into the coronavirus battle. Sammy Margo, who runs a private practice in Finchley Road and another in Archway Road, says Hampstead and Highgate’s older generation are “absolutely petrified” of going into hospital. With health services focused on the Covid-19 frontline, Sammy is worried that “we are solving one problem but creating another” by directing efforts towards coronavirus patients, yet at the same time worsening other people’s medical conditions. As a result, Sammy has set up a ‘hospital at home’ service where, donned in PPE, she treats patients in their own houses, many of whom are elderly, for aches, strains and pains – or worse. “We’re turning into more of an acute service which is a bit scary,” the 30-year chartered physio said. “I know people aren’t going to hospital because of coronavirus, so they’re socially isolating, physically deteriorating and this is creating a whole new wave of other issues. “What seems to be happening is that people are getting ill and are too frightened to seek out treatment from hospitals, so they are staying at home which will cause more problems in the future.” Sammy says “only the tip of the iceberg” is emerging as to the true scale of those “forgotten” and without support – the “untreated” – and looking ahead there could be a “huge backlog” of health problems. “The people who really should be seen aren’t at the moment,” she said. “So problems which were perhaps more chronic, which are going untreated, are now leading to a very disturbing wave of new pathologies.” Sammy said Hampstead and Highgate’s elderly often see things “differently”. She paid tribute to this “amazing generation” who had developed a sense of resilience meaning they didn’t want to “burden” the NHS. “They’re incredibly pragmatic, very intelligent and full of wisdom,” the physio said. “So in their wise mind they’re fairly practical about the situation – a lot of their thinking is about not going into hospital and doing their bit to the NHS by trying to stay well.”

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