Delays in Cancer Claims:

Thousands of Patients Face Disruption in Crucial Appointments

In a concerning revelation, data from 30 of England’s 124 main NHS trusts exposes the significant challenges cancer patients endure, with thousands experiencing repeated cancellations of vital hospital appointments. At least 2,000 patients with an “urgent” cancer referral had their initial consultant appointments delayed three or more times, according to the findings. The impact of these delays is exacerbated by ongoing disruptions, as junior doctors prepare for a six-day walkout. The Labour Party’s extrapolation of the data suggests that approximately 165,000 patients faced canceled appointments last year, with 19,000 experiencing two cancellations and 9,000 enduring three or more.

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Delaying Cancer Diagnosis is Damaging to Patients

Reported in The Times today“during the 12-month period ending in March, a total of 33,403 people who were due to have their first appointment on their cancer “pathway” had it cancelled once. Of these, 4,496 had it cancelled twice, while 2,095 had theirs delayed three times or more. Some 40 per cent of trusts which responded said they had cancelled appointments at least four times.’

Urgent cancer referrals in two weeks being missed

Your medical practitioner, usually a GP should make a referral to a specialist within two weeks of a suspected cancer diagnosis.  However this is a target set by NHS England.  The issue now with all this disruption and, of course, the Winter season now upon us are putting extraordinary pressure on our NHS. Patients with suspected cancer have said said they had cancelled appointments at least four times.  This must be deeply disturbing and distressing to patients and their families.

The Delicate Timeliness of Cancer Diagnoses

Prompt and timely cancer diagnoses are paramount for effective treatment and improved outcomes. However, these repeated delays in appointments jeopardize the well-being of patients waiting for crucial assessments. The cancellations spanned a 12-month period ending in March, reflecting the broader challenges faced by the NHS during a time marked by strikes and disruptions.

Ongoing NHS Disruptions and Strikes

The NHS is grappling with the aftermath of over 1.2 million canceled appointments since industrial action began last December, incurring a substantial cost of about £2 billion. As junior doctors plan their longest-ever strike, the NHS braces for a “perfect storm” characterized by staff shortages, rising flu cases, increased norovirus incidents, and persistent Covid-related impacts.

Impact on Delayed Cancer Claims

The delays in cancer claims come at a significant cost to patients, both in terms of their health outcomes and the overall efficiency of healthcare services. The shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, attributes these disruptions to the government’s failure to resolve strikes, urging a return to negotiations with junior doctors.

Current Situation on Cancer Referrals

Addressing the challenges within the NHS and resolving industrial disputes is crucial to ensuring uninterrupted healthcare services and timely interventions for patients facing the anxiety and uncertainty of delayed cancer claims. The impact of these delays is a stark reminder of the need for a comprehensive and sustainable solution to safeguard the well-being of those relying on the NHS for their critical healthcare needs.

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Compensation for Late Diagnosis of Cancer Claims

Through this worrying time, if appointments have been cancelled and there has been undue delay by the NHS to refer a patient for suspected cancer a claim may be made if the delay could have prevented or stopped  the cancer spreading or reduced the pain and suffering to the patient if terminal.

Delayed cancer compensation claims can be made against your GP or hospital for several reasons, including:

  • Failure to diagnose the onset of cancer
  • Failure to complete a proper examination on a patient that was reasonable to undertake to diagnose possible cancer symptoms
  • Failure to carry out ongoing assessments and tests once a diagnosis of cancer has been made

There are other areas of negligence where you would be eligible for a claim.

It is often difficult to know early on whether your medical professionals were negligent in the cause of your suffering. We will require your entire medical history from your GP and hospital to find out where the medical professional went wrong and obtain expert evidence to establish if the treating GP or hospital did get it wrong.

Whatever the circumstances of your case, you may be able to claim delayed cancer diagnosis compensation if you believe medical negligence resulted in your late or delayed diagnosis of cancer and its subsequent effects on your health.

A late diagnosis of cancer in any situation where a person showing symptoms fails to have them identified and which could have been detected at the time of presentation may be able to claim for medical negligence if the patient has suffered harm. There can be various reasons behind a delayed cancer diagnosis and as expert medical negligence solicitors we will advise the  patient and family every step of the way.

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