MORE than half of people receiving treatment for long-term physical or mental health conditions before the coronavirus pandemic have had their care cancelled or reduced, figures suggest.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, 63 per cent of 660 adults with a physical or mental health condition or illness had been receiving medical care, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Of these, less than a third said their treatment had started or continued as normal since the outbreak.

A similar proportion said they had received reduced treatment, or care for only some of their conditions, while a fifth said their treatment had been cancelled.

Of those whose care was cancelled or disrupted, around a quarter said they feel their health has deteriorated in this time.

Helen Buckingham, director of strategy at the Nuffield Trust, said the figures showed the tough decisions made because of Covid-19.

"These figures illustrate the painful decisions that had to be taken during the peak of the pandemic," said Ms Buckingham.

"Sadly, the problems caused by coronavirus are far from over for the NHS or for patients.

"Our report today shows that the service started with less spare capacity than its counterparts abroad, and this growing backlog of people who have missed out on treatment will continue to make access to care very difficult in the months ahead.

"We must get testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) right to improve the situation, and contain the virus so that it doesn't start all over again."