The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating both in the UK and worldwide.
In March 2020, the NHS turned its attention towards dealing with the pandemic and introduced multiple policies and procedures to ensure they could cope with the anticipated wave of patients they were expecting as a result of Covid-19 whilst also allowing them to limit the risk of cross contamination between patients.
The NHS and each of its employees have worked above and beyond what was expected of them in regards to Covid-19 and have rightly been recognised as heroes throughout the pandemic for the countless lives they have saved from Covid-19.
However, normal every day services in the NHS have suffered a massive disruption, as a result of the focus on Covid-19.
Throughout the pandemic, routine appointments and surgeries have been cancelled or significantly delayed and screening for other illnesses and diseases such as cancer were paused. In many cases, the treatment for these illnesses and diseases were also paused or cancelled with the promise of a rearranged date.
Unfortunately, the progression of these other illnesses and diseases do not halt for a pandemic and neither does the duty of care the NHS owes to each of its patients.
Whilst allowances could and should be made for the unprecedented situation the NHS found itself in, it cannot be accepted that a large amount of patients have suffered unnecessarily as a result of delayed examinations, tests and treatment. Delays have caused significant concern for many healthcare professionals and medical negligence solicitors across the board.
Delays in treatment have affected patients with a wide range of illnesses and diseases including, but not limited to: –
- All forms of cancer;
- Orthopaedic problems;
- Cardiothoracic diseases;
- Respiratory diseases;
- Liver diseases; and
- Ophthalmologic diseases.
Delays in treatment have caused a prolonged period of pain and suffering, a worsened prognosis, a significant deterioration in mental health and in the direst of situations, death.
Cancer Research UK estimates that over 2 million people in the UK have been left waiting for cancer screening, tests or treatment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This delay means that some cancers could become inoperable. Patients should not be left waiting this long for potentially life-saving treatments.
Medical negligence claims rightly have a high standard of proof. It must be established that the standard of care provided fell below what is reasonable. It follows that allowances will be made for the unprecedented situation the NHS found itself in and some delay to diagnosis or treatment is likely going to be considered acceptable in consideration of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, in many claims, the delay will be unacceptable and unreasonable meaning there are grounds to claim compensation for medical negligence that has caused an injury or harm to you or a loved one.
For more information and to determine whether or not you have a claim for medical negligence, please contact the Medical Negligence Team on 0151 489 6161 for a free consultation.