The COVID-19 pandemic is posing major challenges to the health care sector. This scoping review compiles evidence concerning changes to health care service availability and utilisation as well as possible impacts on health for selected groups of chronically ill people in Germany. The focus is on cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and mental disorders. Most empirical data available concerned inpatient care and showed a clear decline in the utilisation of inpatient treatments in March and April 2020 in the areas of oncology and cardiology as well as in mental health. For cardiovascular emergencies such as heart attack and stroke, a decline was observed especially regarding less serious cases. Although there were indications of treatment delays, there was no evidence thus far that emergency care had been generally compromised due to adjustments to inpatient care capacities. In the outpatient setting, extensive adjustments to health care services availability were observed for all disease groups considered. Overall, very limited empirical data were available. In particular, hardly any data were available on how changes in care impacted population health. There is an urgent need for continuous surveillance and evaluation based on health care and epidemiological data.
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