Two deaths due to delays in cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosis were recorded by East Sussex NHS Trust in the past three years

East Sussex NHS Trust has confirmed that there have been two deaths due to delays in cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosis over the last three years, according to a new study.
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Released by an organisation called Medical Negligence Assist, the research is based on a series of Freedom of Information requests to every NHS Trust in the country, revealing the number of instances of delayed diagnosis since 2021, up to and including any instances so far this year.

The research comes after leading charity Cancer Research UK warned last year that the UK’s progress in treating cancer of all kinds is at risk of stalling due to slow and late diagnosis.

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Of the 124 NHS Trusts contacted, 71 per cent provided a full response to the information, including East Sussex NHS Trust, which confirmed that delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis have been factors in two deaths since 2021.

Eastbourne District General Hospital. Image: Google Maps.Eastbourne District General Hospital. Image: Google Maps.
Eastbourne District General Hospital. Image: Google Maps.

Other National Trusts with similar rates included: Great Western Hospitals NFT and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NFT.

Rob Behrens, England’s Health ombudsman has stressed the imperative of safe and effective care within the NHS: “Patient safety will always be at risk in environments that are understaffed and where staff are exhausted and under unsustainable pressure,” he said.

He called for “concerted and sustained action from the government” to ensure NHS leaders can focus on safeguarding patients.

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The numbers are further reflected by NHS England statistics which shows that only 74.2 per cent of patients urgently referred for suspected cancer in December last year were diagnosed or ruled out within 28 days, somewhat short of the 75 per cent target.

Head of Medical Negligence at MNA, Nick Banks said: “Whilst claiming against medical insurance agencies can seem daunting, such claims are the best way to ensure funding is made available for all of the patient’s short-term and longer-term needs.

“This can make a real difference to how quickly that patient is able to regain their former quality of life.

“Bringing such claims can also help the medical profession to identify important areas of improvement, hopefully ensuring that no future patients ever fall victim to the same mistakes.”

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