Surging #NHS Waiting Lists Could Lead to Costly Delays in Diagnosis and Treatment

York based medical negligence solicitors, Pryers Solicitors have recently reached a £30,000 settlement for client Carole West, who has sadly lost her independence due to significant delays in diagnosing an undisplaced fracture, following a defective hip replacement.

While the news this week that the government will pour an extra £5bn into NHS funding over the next three years is a welcome development, the recent NHS waiting list data makes sobering reading. Almost 5.5 million patients are waiting for treatment, the worst figure since records began in 2007. Less than 70% of ‘referred for treatment’ patients have been treated within the standard 18-week waiting time, introduced in 2004.

Experts predict that the waiting list could grow to 13 million, and delays in diagnosis and treatment mean that patients will suffer. The Royal College of Surgeons notes that “…hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for routine surgery such as hip and knee operations, cochlear implants and vascular operations had their treatment cancelled or postponed.”

Carole West’s story

Hastings resident Carole, was an active pensioner walking 3-5km each day and enjoyed swimming every week. But at 79, she was diagnosed as needing a full hip replacement due to arthritis.

Following the operation, Carole began experiencing immense pain, could no longer walk with ease and had to use crutches. After three months, she felt as though her hip had moved out of position and her left foot had started to turn outwards. A further review revealed that she’d sustained a fracture of the greater trochanter (the point where the hip and thigh muscles are fixed).

A full 19 months after her original hip replacement, due to delays in diagnosis, Carole had revision surgery, yet it barely improved her condition and her mobility deteriorated further. “I have to rely on taxis and lifts from my family to get anywhere,” she said. “I’ve lost all the independence I had before my surgeries.” She approached medical negligence solicitors Pryers for help.

“The orthopaedic experts we talked to identified a number of breaches of duty by the hospital,” said Nina Prudom, an experienced Chartered Legal Executive at Pryers Solicitors. “Her undisplaced fracture should have been identified within days of the surgery, her rehabilitation was insufficient, and her revision surgery should have taken place much earlier.”

Pryers were able to negotiate a £30,000 settlement for Carole with the surgeon and the Medical Defence Union acting for the radiologist. Yet the huge surge in NHS waiting lists for routine operations such as hip replacements and delayed diagnoses could lead to many more stories like Carole’s.