Over the past few years, the strain on UK hospitals has been well-reported in the media.

This trend appears to be continuing into 2020, illustrated by recent outrage caused by Milton Keynes Hospital redirecting their cancer patients to hospitals in Oxford or Northampton for life-saving radiotherapy treatment.

A contract between Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and GenesisCare (a private healthcare company) which provided radiotherapy services to cancer patients in Milton Keynes came to an end on 16 December 2019. This has meant that many cancer patients are now forced to travel considerable distances to radiotherapy facilities, causing delays and disruption to treatment plans.

Cancer patients rely on radiotherapy treatment to manage their symptoms and improve their prognoses where possible. Strict radiotherapy plans should be followed to ensure the cancer is controlled and the chance of recurrence is as low as possible. A report published in 2019 from The Royal College of Radiologists states that “gaps in radiotherapy can result in repopulation of cancer cells leading to potentially lower cure rates”. 

Delays caused by ever increasing demand, hospitals operating beyond their safe capacities, and gaps in treatment in certain geographical areas are likely to result in a drop in patient safety and care standards.

Milton Keynes Hospital Chief Executive Joe Harrison said that the decision to terminate the contract came from health chiefs in Oxford and acknowledged that “it is not just a patient experience issue, it is an issue of patient safety”.

Despite plans to open a new cancer treatment centre in Milton Keynes, many patients seeking treatment may still be at risk of delays and inconvenience until this service is up and running.

 When things go wrong…

While most patients have a good care experience, we understand that this is not always the case.

If you are concerned about delays and/or substandard care for yourself or a loved one, and you feel that your care may have been negligent, we have a national team of experienced lawyers who may be able to help.

Please contact a member of our national team for a free, informal discussion:-

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes) 0186 578 1019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham) on 0845 274 6830 karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

 Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester/Nottingham) on 0845 272 5724 jane.williams@freeths.co.uk