Cancer claims are likley to rise in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis
The Law Society has told medical accident lawyers to prepare for an increased number of cancer claims resulting from the fact that cancer testing and treatment has been sidelined during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A leading medical journal predicts that delays in cancer treatment since the pandemic took hold could result in 3,500 avoidable cancer deaths in England during the course of the next five years.
As it was, even before coronavirus arrived in th UK the NHS was struggling to keep up with demand. And those lengthy waiting lists are now set to double as a result of the pandemic. This could see more than 8 million people waiting for cancer treatment.
Speedy detection and treatment of cancer is critical. When tests and treartment are deferred it can cause the condition to deteriorate and impact on the patient’s prognosis.
This is likely to result in a spike of cancer claims based on allegations of clinical negligence by the NHS.
Compensation is awarded on a case by case basis. For cancer claims to succeed it is necessary to show not only that the NHS was negligent, but that the negligence has directly impacted upon the patient’s condition. Medical accident lawyers will need to consider whether the NHS is at fault and whether earlier testing or treatment would have produced a different end result.
We will also have to see how the courts respond to cancer claims that arise due to the impact of Covid-19 given that NHS resourcing is a key issue and difficult decsions had to be made in a time of crisis.
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