The effects of Covid-19 are far reaching across the different areas of medicine and it is clear that the NHS has been placed under huge additional pressure. Many hospitals have been forced to focus their energies on not becoming overwhelmed with Coronavirus as has been seen in some countries across the world.

The challenges faced by Hospital Trusts across the country has led to various services being temporarily unavailable. Whether that be essential ongoing eye care to prevent loss of sight, heart related surgeries and procedures or cancer referrals. All essential services which when delayed can have life changing consequences.

One area where timely intervention is key to long term survival and recovery is cancer. Urgent referrals for cancer care have dropped significantly and treatment has been delayed or cancelled. According to research carried out by Data-Can, experts fear that there may be an additional 18,000 cancer related deaths in the UK in the next year with an even more frightening figure of 35,000 additional deaths as a worst case scenario.

The cancer mortality rates are due to be highlighted this evening in an episode of Panorama wherein it investigates Britain’s Cancer Crisis. During the programme Panorama will explore the impact of the focus on coronavirus on cancer treatment. They investigate how the NHS has managed care during lockdown, speak to experts and analyses new research, they also speak with patients to discover what the pandemic has meant for them.

As part of the documentary Professor Pat Price, a Clinical Oncologist, was interviewed by Panorama. She advised that in some hospitals radiotherapy machines were ‘laying idle which could have saved lives’. Professor Price goes on to further state that ‘it has been safe to give radiotherapy during Covid-19, we know that now. We were told not to do this. We are looking at a huge number of unavoidable deaths’.

Professor Price is considered by many as an expert in her field and one that we have approached with confidence to provide expert opinion in clinical negligence claims that have arisen due to poor standard of care by medical doctors. Professor Price’s comments about there having been a huge number of unavoidable deaths really compounds the concerns we have voiced in terms of how COVID-19 was impacting on people’s ability to access life-saving treatment.

The documentary can be found on BBC1 this evening at 7:30pm.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000kqzv

We know that it is important that those with health concerns can access the support they require at this difficult time. Should you have new or existing symptoms we would suggest contacting your GP in the first instance. Should you have concerns that a condition has been missed or there has been a delay in any cancer treatment during the Covid19 pandemic then we may be able to assist you.

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.

Please contact our team:

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham): 0845 272 5677 or karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

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

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