Almost two thirds of patients with long term and potentially life threatening conditions are not receiving the treatment they require due to COVID-19. 

Research shows the serious impact Covid-19 has had on services for people with long-term serious conditions including cancer, diabetes, respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases.  

The situation is unlikely to improve in the short term with NHS waiting lists looking set to double by the end of the year, due to a combination of the existing backlog, limitations caused by maintaining social distancing and reduced staffing. 

Healthcare services are currently operating at reduced capacity of around 60% due to infection control measures. However, NHS projections indicate that even assuming a return to full capacity the current NHS waiting list is likely to rise from 4.2 million to 10 million  by Christmas.

Research commissioned by the Health Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council shows that 70% of those with diabetes, 66% of those with brain damage/injuries, 65% of those with high blood pressure, 60% of cardiovascular patients, and 64% of people with breathing problems have had their NHS care cancelled during the pandemic.

Whilst urgent cancer treatment and screenings have continued during lockdown, Cancer Research UK estimates that about 2.4 million people in the UK are waiting for screening, treatment or tests with a potential 23,000 cancers having gone undiagnosed during lockdown.

According to Jennifer Dixon, the chief executive of the Health Foundation:"

That 63% of people with serious long-term conditions had their planned treatment cancelled suggests we may be storing up greater health problems for the future."

We understand from experience the importance of prompt and effective diagnosis and treatment in preventing irreparable harm to those with long term and life threatening conditions.  One such example is the recent case of 27 year old Sherwin Hall who now faces a tough battle after waiting 3 months for the MRI scan which led to his diagnosis of life threatening cancer. Peter Walsh, the chief executive of the patient safety charity Action against Medical Accidents, commenting on case said: “Sadly, there are many other patients with various potentially life-threatening conditions who have also been missing out, often with serious consequences.”

As clinical negligence lawyers, we represent people who have suffered avoidable harm due to failures of medical care and delayed or inappropriate treatment. If you have any concerns that a medical condition has been missed or there has been a delay in the treatment that you or a loved one received then please contact us on 01865 781000 or email catherine.bell@freeths.co.uk to arrange a free initial discussion. 

Freeths LLP handle a broad range of clinical negligence cases from all over England and Wales. We have particular expertise in high value and complex claims including brain injuries, spinal injuries, cerebral palsy, fatal claims, and other life changing injuries. 

Although we are, for the time being, not able to meet clients in person, our specialist clinical negligence team at Freeths is here to support and advise clients. We are available for meetings and consultations via telephone, email, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype and any other digital platform that works for you.

Our national clinical negligence team is led by: 

- Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes/London/Bristol): 01865 781019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

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

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