Concerns are being raised that the decision to divert NHS resources to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic could prove costly for both the NHS and individual cancer patients.
With reports suggesting approximately four million patients were on cancer treatment waiting lists pre-lockdown, it's feared the large-scale deferral of cancer treatment because of the pandemic means the waiting list is likely to have more than doubled - meaning patients will continue to face extended delays in obtaining treatment for some time to come.
For many cancer patients this could see their condition deteriorate further because of the delay in treatment and for some, the likelihood of a good or complete recovery may have been significantly reduced. A report in The Lancet Oncology, a leading research publication for clinical cancer specialists, has predicted that delays in cancer treatment since the start of lockdown could lead to around 3,500 avoidable deaths. National support organisations such as Macmillan are also raising concerns over current cancer waiting times and have launched a campaign for Government support to stop cancer becoming "the forgotten C".
With huge understandable public support for the efforts of the NHS during this time of national crisis, the likely area for debate to be explored and discussed in the clinical negligence field is whether decisions to delay or stop cancer treatment without first consulting patients and allowing them to weigh up the risks of delaying treatment were reasonable. Therefore many observers will be awaiting the full impact of this situation on the potential for a wave of compensation claims, but none more so than the cancer patients themselves who are so directly affected.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by this situation and has had their cancer treatment and condition adversely affected, our experienced Clinical Negligence team can help support you with legal advice. If you would like to discuss your circumstance on a free no obligation basis please call us on 01603 620508, freephone 0800 731 8539 or complete our online enquiry form.