The long-term impact of Covid-19 on the wider healthcare system is becoming devastatingly obvious, with further concerns that there will be an increase in legal action relating to delayed cancer treatment.
Many leading doctors have expressed that they worry that the NHS is now facing an onslaught of legal action for patients seeking compensation in relation to a lack of cancer treatment during the global pandemic.
Our specialist solicitor Sophia Azam has stated that: ‘the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer is something that may not be fully known until a government backed inquiry takes place. Undoubtedly, for those families who have been affected first hand, legal action may be the route they chose to take now.’
How has COVID-19 affected cancer treatment?
The urgent need for COVID-19 patients to be given priority has led to a number of different disruptions for cancer patients. Some of the most commonly reported issues include:
- Surgery being rescheduled from the previously planned time
- Diagnostic scans are being delayed or cancelled
- GP appointments are being cancelled or pushed back
Many NHS Trusts postponed even urgent cancer surgery during the second wave of the pandemic, due to the unavailability of beds in the Intensive Care Unit, which were occupied by COVID-19 patients.
Medical Journal The Lancet has published an article on the impact of the COVID-19 on cancer deaths due to delays in diagnosis in England. Released on the 1st August 2020, the findings were concerning for those suffering from cancer in the UK. They found that there were substantial increases in the number of avoidable cancer deaths, and that they are expected to continue as a result of diagnostic delays. They also recommended that urgent policy interventions are necessary – specifically the need to manage the backlog with routine diagnostic services to try and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on patients with cancer.
With all of these figures and findings coming into play, it is more important than ever that the legal profession readies itself for a potential influx of claims.
Can you sue the NHS?
While it can seem like a daunting task to take on the National Health Service in a legal battle, if the standard of care that you would expect has slipped, then it is possible to bring a strong case against the service in order to get the compensation that you need to receive the right care. Whether it was due to GP negligence, hospital negligence, negligence in nursing or an overall drop in the standard of care that was received, then you may be able to make a claim with the right legal support. Medical negligence can happen at any time during your care in the NHS, from your first point of contact with a medical professional to your last.
If you have been put in a position where you feel that your cancer treatment has been seriously and avoidably impacted by COVID-19, our specialists can help you to understand what you could be entitled to. This could include a number of different things, including:
- Financial damages to compensate any additional pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of delayed treatment/diagnosis.
- Financial damages to compensate any additional loss of earnings, and care and assistance you may have required from others.
If you or a relative has suffered because your cancer treatment has been delayed during the pandemic, then we can help you to make a claim.
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