Late Cancer Diagnosis Crisis Within NHS

11 Apr 2022 | Tahsin Choudhury
person receiving bad news

The Health and Social Care Committee recently released a 52-page report on cancer services, expanding on the crisis in England (compared to other similar countries, such as Australia and Canada) as to how diagnosis and treatment of cancer are reaching concerningly low levels. MPs commented on the most troubling concern, which was that there seemed to be no plan to address this.

Due to staff shortages and the pandemic, cancer is not being diagnosed in patients at the crucial early stages as the NHS is falling short of its aim to diagnose 75% of cases at stage one and two. This is essential for maximising the chances of survival. The impact of earlier testing and diagnoses will be hugely significant, and the difference is stark; a stage 1 bowel cancer diagnosis would allow 90% of patients to live for 5 more years, as opposed to 10% of people at stage 4.

One method of early diagnoses are regular cancer screenings which increase the chance of detection at an earlier stage. However, three million fewer people were invited for integral diagnostics screenings in 2020 due to the social distancing measures implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ultimately, this leads to the loss of a real chance of catching cancer early and increasing the chances for patient survival. Despite the pandemic, any attempt to resolve this is hindered by the lack of staff involved in diagnosis and treatment.

Efforts are being made by the government to tackle the cancer backlog caused by COVID and work on a much-needed reform. The key objective to combat this is to successfully carry out a long-term plan for the NHS to reach a target of diagnosing 75% of cancers at stage one or two by 2028. In this, there needs to be a serious effort to tackle the staff shortages in the NHS cancer workforce which ranges from oncologists, Diagnostic Centres, and GPs.

At Osbornes, we have seen first-hand how these late cancer diagnoses affect patients and families, as it can mean the devastating difference between life and death. We have helped clients and advised them on a claim for compensation where we can show this delay in diagnosing cancer was negligent.

Read more about clients we have helped who have suffered a late diagnosis. 

How Osbornes Law can help

If you believe that you or a family member have suffered a late cancer diagnosis our expert medical negligence lawyers can help. Once you provide us with access to your medical records, we will identify whether it would have been reasonable for you to have expected an earlier diagnosis.

Our lawyers are experts in securing settlements and justice for those affected by a late diagnosis. Call Stephanie Prior, or complete an online enquiry form.

Stephanie Prior has over twenty-five years of experience in helping families hold NHS Trusts to account for avoidable mistakes and medical negligence. Before Stephanie qualified as a lawyer she was a senior NHS nurse. This means she is very familiar with medical terminology and procedures. She is, therefore, able to quickly identify any anomalies in medical records, which may help in bringing a claim against the NHS Trust.

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