NHS Gynaecology waiting lists rise due to coronavirus

5 Apr 2022 | Stephanie Prior
Explaining NHS Never Events

It has been reported today in the press that as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, gynaecology waiting lists in England have risen by 60%, with over half a million women now waiting for an appointment. Whilst waiting lists have risen throughout the NHS because of these unprecedented circumstances, this situation is particularly concerning given the impact on women’s health.

Many of the more serious gynaecological conditions are progressive in nature meaning that timely diagnosis and treatment is essential. Delayed diagnoses ultimately lead to more costs for the NHS, not only because of increased litigation but importantly because of the resultant need for more invasive and complex surgery. This also has an impact on waiting lists for treatment and increases costs for NHS Trusts who may possibly have to seek funding for extensive treatments rather than routine treatments had an earlier referral been made.

In some cases, delays will mean that women will be unable to start fertility treatment, as they have conditions which need to be treated before this can begin. As there is an age limit for IVF treatment on the NHS, any delay has the potential to cause someone to become ineligible for treatment. This will have an impact on whether some women are able to start a family.

Some progress is being made in clearing the backlog which has built up across the NHS since March 2020. However, it is important that attention is paid to gynaecological waiting lists and that women’s voices are listened to. Conditions such as endometriosis can have a devastating impact on women’s lives, affecting both their physical and mental health, especially if they are unable to access treatment which they need. It will also have an impact on employment as many women may feel too unwell to work without ongoing treatment.

At Osbornes we have acted for clients who have suffered both physical and mental harm as a result of delayed gynaecological referrals and treatment. We have seen the impact that this can have on people’s lives, including meaning that they are unable to work or socialise. We can advise on the level of damages that can be claimed to compensate someone for a delayed diagnosis, if it can be shown that this delay was unavoidable.

To speak to a medical negligence specialist about a gynaecological treatment delay call Stephanie Prior, or complete an online enquiry form.

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