Coronavirus Pandemic: The impact on Worksop and Retford three years on

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Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK’s first lockdown three years ago this week.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a wide-ranging impact on life in the UK, from health to education and the economy. We looked at the latest data to see how Mansfield has changed since the first lockdown.

Health

The most obvious effect the pandemic has had is on people's health.

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Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK's first lockdown three years ago this week.Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK's first lockdown three years ago this week.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK's first lockdown three years ago this week.

The latest figures from the UK coronavirus dashboard show more than 220,000 people have died as a result of Covid-19 across the UK – of these, 440 were based in Bassetlaw.

But people's health has been affected in other ways, including receiving key check-ups, waiting times on referrals, and their mental health.

For example, cancer waiting times have ballooned since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Just 54.4 per cent of patients in England with an urgent GP referral for cancer treatment were seen within two months in January, the latest NHS England figures show, down from 74 per cent in February 2020, while the NHS target is 85 per cent.

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In Nottinghamshire, 170 of 291 patients, 58.4 per cent, were seen within two months – in February 2020, 21 of 29 were seen in time.

Jon Shelton, head of cancer intelligence at Cancer Research UK, said: "The Government is falling short of its manifesto promise of improving cancer outcomes in the UK and significantly improving cancers diagnosed at their earliest stage.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are working to reduce the 62-day cancer backlog – which has fallen 35 per cent since peaking in 2020 – but know there is more to do.

“More than 2.8 million people were seen after urgent GP referrals between February 2022 and January 2023 and it is encouraging to see more patients coming forward for vital checks.

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“NHS England continues to actively support those trusts requiring the greatest help to cut cancer waiting lists and we are working with NHS England to make further improvements."

Many people's mental health has also deteriorated during successive lockdowns, with the latest NHS England figures showing more people are receiving support than ever.

In England, 1.8m people were estimated to be in contact with mental health services in December – up from 1.4m in February 2020 and the highest since records began in April 2016.

In the former NHS Bassetlaw clinical commissioning group area, 2,570 people received support for their mental health in December.

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Education

The pandemic caused massive disruption to education, with schools forced to educate children remotely and attendance levels declining.

The latest Department for Education figures show 1.6 million pupils across England missed at least 10 per cent of their lessons in 2021-22 – more than double the 800,000 who were 'persistently absent' in 2018-19.

But in Bassetlaw, the rate of persistently-absent pupils fell from 10.3 per cent in 2018-19 to 9.5 per cent last year.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Schools work very hard to encourage good attendance but have little support as local authority attendance services have also reduced as a result of government cuts.

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“We need a nationwide attendance strategy which supports struggling families and schools.”

The Department for Education said the vast majority of children are “in school and learning”.

A spokesman said: “We work closely with schools, trusts, governing bodies, and local authorities to identify pupils who are at risk of becoming, or who are persistently absent and working together to support those children to return to regular and consistent education."

Similarly, attainment for Key Stage 1 pupils has fallen in recent years. Every area in the country saw fewer children achieve the expected standard across all four key subjects: reading, writing, maths and science.

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In Bassetlaw, just 67 per cent of Key Stage 1 pupils achieved the expected standard in reading, 59 per cent in writing, 69 per cent in maths and 79 per cent in science.

Economy

Three lockdowns, furlough and restricted spending had long-lasting effects on the British economy. Businesses were forced to close, consumers were unable to spend freely, and many lost jobs and income during the pandemic.

One of the changes that occurred was the move to remote work, and figures from Google, which uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people's movement, shows workplace activity remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

The latest data, which covers October 10-14 last year, shows footfall across the UK remained around 25 per cent lower than a five-week baseline period recorded before the pandemic – in Bassetlaw, workplace activity was 8 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels.

Similarly, 2021 saw 327,000 businesses closed – a 9 per cent increase on the year before and the highest number since 2017.

Of these, 405 were closed in Bassetlaw.