The medical negligence team at Gregory Abrams Davidson were alarmed to read a report compiled by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).

The NPSA investigated over a thousand cases in which NHS staff misdiagnosed/ delayed diagnosing cancer among patients over a one-year period. The report, entitled “Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer: Thematic Review” revealed that the failures led to 177 patients suffering unnecessarily, with two dying and 25 being serious harmed. The total number of adverse outcomes therefore amounts to approximately 20 per cent of the total number of cases investigated.

The report indicated that the mistakes were attributable to a failure to spot key signs of cancer, the mixing up of tissue samples, staff and equipment shortages and a delay in vital diagnostic tests. In addition, in some cases, some patients were wrongly given the all-clear.

On a linked point, the National Cancer Intelligence Network recently revealed that 23 per cent of all cancer cases went undetected until the emergency admission stage. At this time, such patients are likely to have advanced forms of the disease, making it harder if not impossible to treat. This national audit claimed that the detection rate is even worse among sufferers of brain tumours or acute leukaemia, with more than half of these cancers diagnosed only in an emergency.

Whilst some blame is placed on a general lack of awareness of symptoms among the general population, blame is also attributable to a failure by doctors to identify the early warning signs. This damming study was published after the Office for National Statistics disclosed that the cancer death rate among British women was higher than in other countries.

The team at Gregory Abrams Davidson deal with many cases involving the misdiagnosis of cancer and/or delayed diagnosis of cancer. If you or somebody you know has been affected by either the misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis of cancer, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our dedicated team on 0151 733 3353 or 020 8209 0166. Alternatively, you can email us at abennett@gadllp.co.uk