Frontline NHS doctors, nurses and support staff have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients. Thanks to their efforts, the peak of the crisis is over.
However, COVID-19 has caused huge disruption to healthcare services across the UK spanning all areas of medicine including:
- Cancer services (oncology)
- Heart care (cardiology)
- Diabetes services (endocrinology)
- General surgery
- Emergency care and treatment
This means that many patients with non-COVID-19 conditions are experiencing severe delays to urgent diagnostics and essential 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.
For one particular patient, Wendy Peake, the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare services meant her NHS eye cancer drug trial had to be cancelled indefinitely – Wendy, and her lawyer Mary Smith, recently shared her story with The Guardian and BBC One’s Panorama.
Many patients’ conditions have worsened due to delays and cancellations and they now need further, more invasive treatment. In some cases, patients’ lives are at risk.
As a specialist medical negligence law firm with expertise in medical law and patient safety issues, we are being contacted by patients and their families up and down the country who have been affected by diagnosis and treatment delays due to COVID-19.
You can read about some of our clients’ experiences during COVID-19 and the lockdown period here.
If you or a family member has concerns that severe delays to essential tests or treatment have had a serious impact on your health or you are worried about the cancellation or withdrawal of specialist treatment or clinical trials, our specialist solicitors are on standby to offer expert legal help and support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, delays to diagnoses, 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. 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.