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Delays in Surgery, Investigations and Treatment: can I make a claim?

Delays in Surgery, Investigations and Treatment: can I make a claim?

The pandemic has changed everyone’s lives in at least one way or another. For the NHS, huge and unexpected pressures have led to lack of resources, most notoriously hospital beds, equipment, and staff, which have meant that around 4.7 million patients in February 2021 were awaiting non-urgent surgery.

Non-urgent treatment could include, but is not limited to the following:

  1. Orthopaedic surgeries, such as shoulder, hip or knee replacements.
  2. Removal of benign masses and cysts.
  3. Sight and hearing operations such as cataract surgery and cochlear implants.
  4. Investigations such as X-rays, MRI and CT scans, and biopsies.

For the people requiring orthopaedic surgeries, daily life can be a huge struggle. Loss of mobility can lead to further isolation in a pandemic where normal socialisations are strictly limited to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Although these surgeries are classed as “non-urgent”, for those suffering with debilitating pain day in day out, the opportunity to have the surgery would be life changing.

Despite the government pouring in extra funds to the NHS, families are still unsure when their loved ones will receive treatment that will improve their quality of life. This is devastating for families who must watch their loved ones in pain, day after day, not knowing when they will be able to eventually have a surgery. Of course, this can also have the added effect of families becoming carers and taking on caring responsibilities for loved ones when they limited in mobility and attending to their own activities of daily living.

Surgery that is time-critical is currently being prioritised by the NHS, but how long must those who experience chronic pain wait until they are treated as a priority? For many, this means they are unable to work, are isolated to their homes, and of course, this can have a detrimental impact on their mental health.

For those waiting for “non-urgent” surgery, an added fear is the deterioration of their diagnosis and whether this may develop into something more sinister that has the potential to be missed, subsequently affecting their prognosis.

Of course, these delays will not immediately resolve once the pandemic begins to ease. There have been concerns that the NHS will take years to recover because of the Coronavirus and it is unclear how long this will take. Unfortunately, this means that delays can be expected to last long after the virus has ceased.

If you or a loved one has experienced delays in treatment or a delay in diagnosis, please call Swain & Co’s team of experienced medical negligence lawyers who regularly advise and represent people in cases relating to delayed diagnosis.

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