There’s no denying; we’re incredibly lucky to have the NHS and never more so than over the last 18 months. Frontline medical staff are the heroes of the pandemic. They’ve worked tirelessly to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients and the nation will be forever grateful for their help and bravery.
But there’s also no denying, the virus has caused huge disruption to health services across the board.
Whilst care has quite rightly prioritised those with COVID-19, millions of other – non-COVID patients – have experienced delays. To ease pressure on the NHS, almost all routine and elective surgical procedures were stopped, many outpatient appointments were postponed, and screening and tests for medical conditions (including cancer) were paused or even cancelled.
If you’re one of the unlucky ones still waiting to be seen, here at Injury Lawyers Direct, we understand just how upsetting and frustrating that can be. And as leading medical negligence solicitors, we want to do anything we can to help.
The devastating impact of delayed treatment
According to a survey by the British Medical Association (BMA), more than 50% of UK doctors believe the pandemic has worsened care for patients who don’t have COVID-19. Interruptions caused by the outbreak have been widespread, affecting patients with a broad range of health conditions, including (but not limited to):
- orthopaedic issues (e.g. hip and knee replacements)
- cardiovascular disease
- diabetes and diabetes-related complications
- chronic kidney disease
- respiratory disease
- liver disease
- all types of cancer
Of course, delays in some of these areas (e.g. orthopaedics) may not be life-threatening. But they can still have a profound negative impact on the patient – leading to prolonged discomfort, pain, suffering, impaired mobility, and a generally lower quality of life.
The patient’s health may have also deteriorated further – and, as a result, treatment options may have altered and the prognosis could now be less favourable. For patients with cancer and other critical diseases, in particular, the consequences of this are potentially devastating.
How long is too long?
Before COVID-19 hit the UK, the NHS was already struggling to meet demand. In 2019, there were approximately 4 million people on the NHS waiting list for routine procedures. By February 2021, that figure had risen to above 10 million. And as we go through a third wave of coronavirus, it’s currently unknown how long it will take for the enormous backlog to be cleared.
For some patients, symptoms may have started during the pandemic – in which case, diagnostic and treatment delays were likely unavoidable. After all, the crisis has been completely unprecedented and action was taken to help those critically ill with the virus. For other patients, symptoms may have begun well before the outbreak and an existing treatment delay may have been extended further by the effects of COVID-19.
In both circumstances, the pandemic does not negate your right to enquire about a claim.
If your health or quality of life has been negatively affected by delayed tests, diagnosis, or treatment, or you’re concerned about the long-term impact the delay will have, it’s certainly worth speaking to our specialists and exploring the options available to you.
Contact our medical negligence experts today
Our specialist medical negligence solicitors are on standby, ready to offer help and support for anyone affected by COVID-19 treatment delays.
In some cases, you may be entitled to claim compensation. This will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, including whether the delay was unreasonable and whether your pain and suffering were avoidable. Therefore, to find out if you’re eligible, the best option is to contact our team for a free no-obligation consultation.
This is just a quick chat, which gives us a chance to discuss your experience over the phone. Once we know a bit more, we can then advise on your eligibility to claim and your chances of success.
There’s no pressure to move forwards. That’s entirely your decision. If you do decide to go ahead, you won’t need to worry about the legal costs, as we complete all of our work on a completely ‘no win no fee’ basis. And there’s absolutely no need to feel guilty about potentially claiming against the NHS.
All medical negligence claims are handled by NHS resolution, which is an insurance company set up by the government. If you win compensation, the money will be taken out of a separate pot that is earmarked for settling claims – not the NHS budget. And the claim will have zero impact on the NHS heroes we have relied upon so much over the last 18 months.
So what do you have to lose?
Everyone has the right to access healthcare when they need it and, if you’ve been denied that right and have suffered as a result, it’s only fair that you seek justice. To get started, either give us a call today on 0800 110 5888 or fill out our online contact form and we’ll respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.