There are currently many concerns about the effect that the Coronavirus pandemic has had and will continue to have upon hospital admissions and treatments, many of which have been put on hold or delayed due to the outbreak.
It was recently reported that the number of patients admitted for routine treatment in hospitals in England was down 67% in June 2020, compared with the same time last year.
NHS figures also show that the number of people going to accident and emergency units in England in July 2020 was down by 30%, compared to July 2019.
Hospitals and NHS staff are working very hard to restore services following the recommencement of many NHS services.
There are also fears surrounding the number of people attending their GP with symptoms of cancer. Whilst figures are rising again following the easing of lockdown, the number of patients being urgently referred by their GP’s to a specialist is still nearly 20% lower than the same time last year.
It has been suggested that this indicates an alarming backlog of undiagnosed cancer cases and a growing number of people who are yet to start treatment, which could impact their prognosis.
Last month (August 2020) it was reported that thousands of lives may be lost to cancer because around 250,000 patients were not referred to hospital for urgent checks. This figure was found by comparing the number of patients being referred by their GP’s from April to June 2020 and April to June 2019.
There are additional concerns that, even when people are being referred to hospital by their GP, there are delays in accessing diagnostic services and treatments that could save lives. A study found that the pandemic disrupted all stages of cancer services including cancer screening, diagnostic testing and treatment.
Darren White, head of the Medical Negligence and Personal Injury Departments at Dunn & Baker Solicitors said “these delays in diagnosis and treatment, if unreasonable, negligent and have resulted in the worsening of a patient’s condition, could lead to a medical negligence claim”.
If you believe you have suffered a negligent delay in diagnosis or treatment, please contact our Clinical Negligence team on:
Exeter 01392 285000 Cullompton 01884 33818 Newton Abbot 01626 330127