Claims for medical negligence have increased sharply following delays to treatments and operations arising from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a law firm.
Midlands-based Wright Hassall says it has seen a 78 per cent increase in enquiries relating to medical negligence claims this year, a rise reflected nationally.
Some 214 people have already made enquiries with the firm, compared to 120 during the same period in 2020.
The firm expects numbers to continue rising as enquiries are normally higher in the second half of the year.
The increase is thought to be related to operations having been cancelled, and medical conditions not being treated due to coronavirus.
Rachael Flanagan, from Wright Hassall’s Medical Negligence and Serious Injury team, said: “There was an initial drop-off during the pandemic, but in the last few months we have seen enquiries shoot up.
“With cancer treatments being put on hold and waiting lists for operations growing, people who
should have been seen months ago are still waiting for appointments.
“As a result, we are getting a lot of enquiries relating to delays in diagnosis.
“Proving negligence is subject to a very robust set of standards and, with a pandemic raging, there will be mitigating circumstances in some cases.
“Nonetheless, I would recommend anyone who is concerned about a delay in their treatment, or a
delay in their diagnosis, to speak to us to see whether or not they have a genuine case.
“We are currently advising several clients on matters relating to poor treatment that are unconnected with the pandemic but have had a devastating impact on their lives.
“We are expecting the number of enquiries to increase as the year progresses as an inevitable
consequences of the delays and cancellations experienced by many patients, leading to an illness
being misdiagnosed, an incorrect treatment being offered or a surgical mistake.”
Ms Flanagan urged people not to delay seeking seek advice as there are time limits involved in
making a claim.
“Usually a person has three years from the date when the incident occurred, or from when the
patient realised their treatment was poor, in which to settle their claim or issue court proceedings,
and we are now almost 18 months into the pandemic,” she added.
“I would strongly recommend anyone thinking of making a claim to seek advice as soon as possible.”