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Shocking figures obtained by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) show that in a two month period, more than 13,000 planned operations were cancelled. Each delayed operation can have significant consequences for patients and their families and lead to hospital negligence claims should there be excess suffering due to negligent care.
The data was collated as part of the RCEM’s Winter Flow Project and highlights that in October 2021, 6,335 operations were cancelled and 6,726 cancelled in November. Whilst specific reasons behind each cancellation have not been provided, it is important to note that the vast majority were cancelled by the NHS who had also temporarily paused the collation of cancelled operations data due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
It is likely that the cancellations of elective surgery were due, at least in part, to the allocation of resources to help with the fight against Covid. It also means that there was likely be to a re-prioritisation for those who are at most urgent need of surgery. This can however, mean that those who were initially at lower need of surgery such as hip, knee and other routine surgery may find their condition deteriorate should they have to wait an excessive amount of time for treatment. This can also lead to an increased strain on other medical services, for example increased need for appointments at the GP surgery to provide pain relief, or a need for physiotherapy or other services whilst on the waiting list for the required surgery. This can also lead to emotional turmoil for the patient and their family should they find it increasingly difficult to go about their daily life. Where it ends up being proven that a patient suffered excessively, for example ending up requiring additional, more complex surgery as a result of a delay then it may be possible to seek a claim for hospital negligence compensation.
In response to the latest figures, the NHS have stated that additional investment over the next three years will help to reduce waiting times as well as providing additional checks, scans and operations for those at most need. However, this is likely to be of little comfort for those who have been impacted by the ongoing delays at present.
If you or a loved one has suffered adversely due to excessive delays or poor, negligent care, then you may be able to seek compensation. Blackwater Law are specialist medical negligence lawyers operating on a no win, no fee basis meaning all clients do not face any financial risk when proceeding with a medical negligence claim for compensation.