The role played by Covid-19 in causing cancer treatment delay
One particularly serious health implication of the pandemic that is often overlooked is in causing cancer treatment delay.
Diagnostic and surgical delays in cancer treatment are now more common than in than pre-Covid days, and the NHS is falling well adrift of its cancer waiting time targets. The stated aim is to ensure that 85% of patients begin their treatment within two months of an urgent referral from a GP. However, this target is not being met. The crisis has forced that figure down to just below 70%, and there are very few signs that it is likely to improve in the foreseeable future. In practical terms this has resulted in fewer cancer diagnoses being made, with some estimates putting that figure close to 50,000.
So what does this mean for patients who have experienced cancer treatment delay? Well it needs to be recognised that not all delays are down to shortcomings in the standard of service being provided by the NHS. One effect of the pandemic has been to put people off coming forward when they develop a health issue that could be cancer related. This reluctance to engage with the NHS among some patients goes some way to explaining the figures.
However, where cancer treatment delay arises directly from an inadequate medical service being provided then the picture is different. Patients who suffer avoidable harm as a result may be entitled to recover compensation. This would include patients whose condition comes more serious as a result of delay or where more invasive surgery is required than would otherwise have been necessary
One feature of this is likely to be the impact of remote consultations, and you can read our article on remote consultations and GP negligence here.
If you feel that you have been the victim of cancer treatment delay that has seriously impacted on your health and would like to know where you stand on claiming compensation then contact our helpline for a chat. We offer free case assessments and no win, no fee funding phone 0808 139 1606 or email us at [email protected]