Never in recent times have we experienced a health crisis and emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic; the virus has had a devastating impact. Whilst some have experienced very little symptoms, others have battled to overcome it and, tragically, the virus has taken the lives of thousands.
Given the national emergency created by COVID-19, the health trusts have understandably needed to re-direct resources, both financial and human, to fight the pandemic. Resources are however limited and, as a result, NHS capacity has been drastically reduced. This has had a knock-on effect on other services such as screening and surgeries being delayed.
As a result, we are seeing an increasing backlog of patients requiring urgent diagnostic and other treatment. This will take some time to clear. This problem is particularly evident, not only in cancer services, but also in neurology and cardiology. The concern is that this delay in screening or surgery may have significant consequences for patients with conditions who require urgent diagnostic or treatment procedures and that these delays may result in many unavoidable additional deaths.
In order to have a claim, it is necessary to show that the delay in diagnosis or treatment was negligent and that you have suffered a compensatable injury as a direct result of that delay/ negligence. The issue of how hospital trusts allocated their resources would also have to be considered. It is likely that when determining whether the delay was negligent, the courts would consider the funding and resources available to the health trusts and the allocation of the same.
Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) has recently called for NHS services for non-COVID patients to be opened up to avoid potential harm to many.
Devastatingly, COVID-19 has directly claimed the lives of thousands. Let action now be taken to ensure that it does not indirectly take the lives of many more.
If you have concerns about a delay in medical diagnosis or treatment and require legal advice, please contact us on 02890 890450 for a free, no-obligation consultation.