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People in Scotland most confident of eluding Covid in pharmacies

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People in Scotland most confident of eluding Covid in pharmacies

People over the age of 50 in Scotland were more worried about cancer and dementia than other health conditions during the Covid pandemic but most were confident of eluding the virus in healthcare settings such as pharmacies compared with other places in the community, according to researchers from the University of Stirling.

An analysis of how Covid impacted the lives of older people and their engagement with health services in the country found 69 per cent to 78 per cent of respondents were “completely” or “fairly” confident they would be safe from Covid in pharmacies, GP surgeries, dentists and hospitals.

The majority who said they felt “completely” safe indicated local pharmacy as their healthcare setting. The study saw 3,393 respondents complete the survey.

Of the 2,613 people who took part in further research, 785 were worried about cancer, followed by dementia (750), stroke (250) and heart disease (175). That was more than the number worried about contracting Covid (128). The majority of people surveyed were also “very or extremely worried” about getting access to GP and NHS services during the pandemic.

The research was part of the Healthy Ageing in Scotland study that collects data on the health, economic and social circumstances of people over 50.

Dr Elaine Douglas, the associate professor in ageing and public health at the University of Stirling, said: “Whatever discussions are underway regarding NHS Covid-19 recovery or NHS reform, we see a pattern of fear related to chronic health conditions over Covid-19 coming to the fore in our findings.

“Older people are concerned with having access to GP and hospital services and fears of Covid-19 are not deterring them from attending appointments or treatments. At the start of the pandemic we saw a drop off in people engaging with healthcare settings, so it is very encouraging to see a renewed confidence in entering these settings to receive the care they need.

“Despite the pandemic, older people feel confident to attend healthcare appointments when invited, and that this group is not put off by fears of contracting Covid-19 which is particularly important as we head into the winter season.”

Dr Douglas said the research will “provide important insights for policy and public health messaging.”

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