Today (17 September 2020) is World Patient Safety Day, organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) its international partners, and countries around the globe. The theme for this year is...Read more
At the start of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, many hospitals, healthcare clinics and GP practices changed their normal operations to focus on patients with the virus.
This has meant that many essential treatments for patients have ceased, non-emergency surgical procedures have been put on hold and screening and tests for a range of health conditions have been cancelled.
The disruption to healthcare services across the UK due to COVID-19 spans all areas of medicine including:
- Cancer services (oncology)
- Heart care (cardiology)
- Diabetes services (endocrinology)
- General surgery
- Emergency care and treatment
Understandably, this has caused a lot of worry for patients and their families. For some people, treatment delays or the cancellation of treatment due to COVID-19 has had a significant impact on their physical health.
Their condition may have worsened as a result and they now need further, more aggressive treatment when normal services resume. In some cases, patients now face a worsening prognosis and sadly, some lives may be at risk.
Patient Safety During COVID-19
The NHS response to the crisis has been incredible, with the healthcare frontline working tirelessly to help and support patients affected by the virus.
However, as a specialist personal injury law firm, we have concerns about the safety of those patients with serious medical conditions unrelated to COVID-19.
If normal healthcare services are not resumed as quickly as possible, there is a risk more people will find themselves with worsening conditions or in a worst-case scenario, sadly dying as a result of treatment delays.
This has led to patient safety concerns among doctors and other healthcare professionals. The British Medical Association (BMA) in a recent survey found that over 30% of doctors agreed that the current and expected future strains on the NHS have forced them to provide less effective treatment to patients than ‘normal’. Over 50% of doctors admitted that the prioritisation of those patients with COVID-19 symptoms over the care of ‘non-COVID’ patients is worsening.
That is why Novum Law’s solicitors support calls from the patient safety charity, AvMA for the Government to take urgent action to get the health service fully up and running, without delay to prevent further harm and deaths to seriously ill non-COVID-19 patients.
Our specialist Medical Negligence team has been instructed by patients who have suffered due to a delay in their diagnosis or treatment as a result of the pandemic. One client, supported by his solicitor Mary Smith, whose cancer scan and diagnosis was seriously delayed during the coronavirus outbreak recently spoke with The Guardian and BBC Yorkshire to raise awareness of the issue.
Credit: BBC Yorkshire
If you or a family member has suffered due to delays to your medical treatment or because your treatment has been temporarily withdrawn or cancelled, our specialist solicitors can provide expert legal advice.
For a free, no obligation chat about what options are available to you call us today on Freephone 0800 884 0777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, delays to medical treatment or the cancellation of essential medical treatment for serious health conditions and disease can put lives at risk. In some serious illnesses, such as cancer, speedier diagnoses and timely treatment is essential to maximise patients’ chances of survival.
Doctors are aiming to continue essential treatment wherever possible. However, some patients’ treatments are being prioritised over others. To find out more information, it is important to get in touch with your healthcare provider. Cancer Research UK has published useful information on accessing cancer treatment during COVID-19 here.
Everyone’s situation is different and of course, it depends on the type of cancer you have, its stage and what treatment you are having. If you have early-stage cancer and have minimal symptoms, you may not need immediate treatment. Your first port of call should be to speak to your doctor or your oncologist and share your concerns. They may be able to advise you when your treatment can resume. Visit Cancer Research UK for more information.
If you have a question that is not listed above, please visit our FAQs page. Alternatively, please call our specialist team on Freephone 0800 884 0777 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation chat.