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What to do if Coronavirus is Delaying Cancer Care

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Delays in diagnosis and the treatment of cancer can have catastrophic long term effects for patients, but now as well as turning to the medical profession cancer patients and their families are seeking help from medical negligence solicitors.

It has been suggested that during lockdown 13,000 fewer cancer patients had surgery, 6,000 fewer underwent chemotherapy and 3,000 fewer had radiotherapy. A much poorer prognosis, life-limiting conditions and poor survival rates are increase with delayed diagnosis.

“Over the course of the next 12 months to three years NHS Trusts, their Insurers and medical negligence solicitors must prepare for the inevitable rise in complaints and claims arising from delayed diagnoses of cancer, delayed treatments and, consequently, avoidable deaths and/or reduced life expectations,” said specialist medical negligence solicitor Jacqueline White.

“No one here is punishing the NHS and when people turn to us often their primary motivation is not compensation, they’ve already been through enough, but they are seeking answers and help for their loved ones.  Many also want their delayed or mismanaged treatment to be recorded to try and help others in the future,” she added

Under the terms of the Health Act 2009 and the NHS constitution patients are entitled to consultant-led treatment for non-urgent cancer care within 18 weeks.

Cancer Research UK are now warning of a backlog of three million people awaiting screening and say they fear “this will mean poor survival for cancer patients.”

Cancer Care Delays

During the early stages of lockdown the way each trust reacted to the pandemic varied but inevitably it led to a cancellation of diagnostic scans, delayed or postponed chemotherapy and surgery.

“More must be done to protect cancer patients and ensure that they are receiving the care and treatment they need,” added Jacqueline White.

                 "It is simply not acceptable for my clients to have been left in a state of limbo fearing the worst and sadly, in some cases, being                      told that had they received an earlier diagnosis or treatment then their prognosis would have been better."

“In situations such as this and to protect their family’s future, these patients having first fallen victim to cancer and then the added impact of Covid-19, are now turning to us for redress.”

Pearson’s Medical Negligence team is AvMA accredited meaning we have recognised expertise and experience in medical negligence matters and can offer specialist advice.

Concerns about the cost of making a claim shouldn’t be a factor. In most cases we are able to provide the options of No Win No Fee or Legal Expense Insurance to help fund a claim. When instructing us, our aim is to give you the best possible protection from having to pay legal fees.

If you need to speak to a friendly medical negligence solicitor who will listen to all aspects of your case and give free no obligation advice call now on 0161 785 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Jacqueline White


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