Comment: Cancer specialist shortages will result in medical negligence claim rise
An Assistant Litigation Executive at Fletchers Solicitors believes that the reduced numbers of doctors specialising in cancer will only result in an increase in medical negligence claims.
Jennifer Smith, who works in the medical negligence department at Fletchers, has said the following:
A report by BBC News reports the findings of the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR).
This report reveals only 3% extra cancer doctors joined the NHS Wales in the past five years, despite an increase in cancer rates and a significant increase in cancer patients.
The reduced numbers of oncologists available may be to the detriment of the patient who may face delays if the processes are delayed or a lower standard of care provided due to a lack of consultants. There are factors of the current consultants becoming over-worked, which in turn may also lead to errors in treatment plans and delays in providing the treatment that a patient requires to the detriment of the patient and his or her family.
This may also impact on the overall experience that a patient and his or her family have at a particularly difficult time.
Further recruitment of oncologists could offer a solution, however, this will not be a quick fix to the problem given the time it may take to train a doctor in this area, resulting in a continued burden on current consultants in the meantime.
There may also be increased need with supervision, or a newly qualified may be less experienced, which in turn may lead to errors if the NHS Wales are still under pressure of being understaffed.
Only time will tell if the strain on NHS Wales will result in an increase to patients seeking advice regarding incorrect or a delayed diagnosis.