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Covid Casualties in Cancer Care are now Seeking Answers

View profile for John Pollitt
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Patients face a crucial few months as Covid-19 delays essential cancer treatments resulting in many cases of delayed diagnosis and worsening prognosis.

Many treatments have been on hold during the lockdown and there are concerns that routine screenings and urgent referrals have been postponed - for some patients this could be damaging.

Medical Negligence Solicitors

“As Medical Negligence Solicitors we have already been approached by clients whose cancer care has potentially been substandard during the pandemic,” said John Pollitt, Medical Negligence Partner for Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers.

The NHS has done a remarkable job to weather the Covid storm, but now comes the aftermath. Quite rightly patients who have been denied treatment have questions that need answering.

“Whilst the emphasis has been on tackling coronavirus and it is inevitable that resources have been ploughed into this, the result is avoidable delays in diagnosis and treatment.  Many patients have been left in the dark and I feel there has been a lack of discussion with them into the long term effects,” added John.

“Some potential clients have come to see me who, whilst they have been supporting and applauding the NHS, have also felt disenfranchised and inadvertently have become the cancer casualties of Covid.”

Post-Covid Care

“Many cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been delayed and the usual wards have been closed off.  Many patients feel as if they have been abandoned and I am sure this will lead to a substantial rise in compensation claims as they feel it’s been a choice between coronavirus and cancer,” said John.

Add to this lack of communication a significant cohort of people who have been put off visiting a doctor or presenting to A&E during the crisis and the situation could escalate.

The journal ‘Lancet Oncology’ has predicted that delays in treatment since March could lead to more than 3,500 avoidable cancer deaths in England in the next five years.

“Communication with patients is crucial at a time like this.  The issue many of our clients have is that their treatments were halted without explanation or discussion about the risks, whilst others have had scans or surgeries postponed,” said John.

“One question may be whether a potentially life-saving service such as cancer care could, or should, have been mothballed to deal with an unknown pandemic?”

Making a Claim

Making a claim against the NHS is never an easy thing to do, especially as we have appreciated their hard work and dedication this year. We admire and respect the work of our clinical teams, but sometimes things do go wrong and that is when people need help and advice to cope with what can often be life changing circumstances.

We handle enquiries from all over the UK so please don’t hesitate to contact our Medical Negligence team on 0161 785 3500 or email enquiries@pearsonlegal.co.uk for preliminary advice.

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.