Doctors have warned that the health service cannot shut down to non-coronavirus patients in the event of a second wave.

Prof Neil Mortensen, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, had urged the NHS not to use the same sweeping closures of services that were introduced in March.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of council at the British Medical Association, told The Guardian patients in need of diagnostic tests and treatments cannot be left “stranded” again.

“We cannot have a situation in which patients are unable to access diagnostic tests, clinic appointments and treatment which they urgently need and are simply left stranded,” said Dr Nagpaul said.

“If someone needs care – for example for cancer, heart trouble, a breathing condition or a neurological problem – they must get it when they need it.”

It comes as fears grow over the impact of a second wave on the NHS and Britain’s care infrastructure.

There is mounting evidence that lockdown is causing many excess deaths through a lack of adequate healthcare. Figures released earlier this week by the Office for show that the number of people dying in hospital is still low, suggesting many people are still not being able to access healthcare.

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