NHS pushing patient waiting times to three months may see rise in incidents, lawyers warn
New waiting times for routine operations in some parts of the country could see patients having to wait up to a minimum of three months before their procedure takes place.
Hip operations and cardiac procedures are among those that fall within the new lengthier patient waiting times, which could lead to complications arising as patients have to wait longer for treatment.
Patient waiting times average is around seven and a half weeks, but new measures introduced in Lincolnshire mean patients may be waiting almost twice as long in efforts to cut costs as lawyers warn that the new measures may see incidents increase.
Treatment delays and compensation
One of the main ways in which the NHS can end up negligent and liable to pay compensation to a patient is where vital treatment is unreasonably delayed. Delaying treatment can lead to the worsening of conditions and avoidable complications arising.
In addition, patients waiting for treatment can be vulnerable to further accidental damage. A patient waiting for a hip replacement may fall due to suffering instability, and this could seriously worsen their condition and potentially lead to life-altering complications.
Professor Neil Mortensen, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:
“Delaying elective treatment unnecessarily not only subjects patients to excessive pain and discomfort, but can also allow certain conditions to deteriorate, becoming life-limiting or even life-threatening… Introducing an arbitrary minimum waiting time for surgery is unlikely to save money in the long term and raises serious professional and ethical issues.”
Other Trusts have looked at similar changes to patient waiting times, but when faced with the backlash from experts and patient groups, they never went ahead.
In a statement from the team here at the Medical Negligence Lawyers, serious concerns with the changes have been raised:
“Patients waiting too long for treatment is a catalyst to complications that can easily be avoided. Although we can all sympathise with the need to reduce costs, we cannot have a situation where incidents or claims rise because the quality of services fall.”
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