Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Failings in Cancer Care in England

The BBC has commented on a report from the Royal College of Physicians & Radiologists (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20410373), which highlights failings in emergency healthcare provided to cancer patients.

The report raises concerns about the level of care being provided by Accident & Emergency units of hospitals, as well as from GPs and District Nurses. It appears that there is confusion in how to deal with emergency health problems which arise in cancer patients. Hospitals in particular are unsure whether to refer the patient to the Oncologists, or to refer to a different team to treat the acute problem.

An example would be a fever or pain symptoms, which are common in patients being treated for cancer. This is because treatments for cancer (such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy) leave patients vulnerable to infection.

A more worrying trend sees hospitals performing unnecessary and invasive tests and treatments to patients requiring end-of-life palliative care.

The report has highlighted that doctors and nurses need better training and staff co-ordination when treating cancer patients. Furthermore, the report also urges medics to be vigilant for undiagnosed cases of cancer as almost 25% of new cancers are diagnosed after a patient seeks emergency help for acute symptoms.

We have particular expertise in pursuing claims for patients or their families when cancer has been undiagnosed or untreated.

If you would like advice regarding a potential claim relating to diagnosis or treatment of cancer, please contact the medical negligence team.