November 8, 2013 10.00 am This story is over 120 months old

Too late to save your life?

Getting the right care: Despite the thousands who receive great care by the NHS, sometimes things can go wrong. John Knight explains what to do.

Delegates at the National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Liverpool this week were quick to tell us how proud and excited they were about recent and future developments in the fight against cancer, but yet on ITV’s Exposure programme Too Late to Save Your Life painted a different story.

Which are we to believe?

The information put forward by ITV’s researchers was shocking when talking about the UK’s screening programmes for Lung, Prostate and Bowel Cancer. These three cancers together make up 40% of all cancer deaths in the UK and every year collectively 60,000 people die from one of these three cancers – or one person every nine minutes.

Yet we have worse screening programmes for these cancers than a number of European countries. Even the poorest areas of Boston, US, have better programmes (free!), in a country which often won’t treat you until you have given them details of your bank account.

On the other hand, research and technical developments in the fight against cancer has been excellent over recent times, due to an increase in funding and technological advances in areas such as genetics.

It is certainly possible that both of these news stories are true. What we see though at Ringrose Law, on a daily basis, are enquiries from distraught members of the public who feel let down by someone or something in the NHS at a time when they need timely investigation or treatment and support from the NHS.

We of course only see the negative side of the NHS and are well aware of the thousands of patients who are dealt with excellently on a daily basis (the writer included). When contacted, we always give free initial advice as to which way we believe they should take their problem forward.

To help people who find themselves or a family member having difficulty with NHS treatment at times like this, we would suggest that:

  • They initially express their concerns to the people who are treating them;
  • They ask for an explanation of matters if they haven’t already been given one (poor communication is a common problem we hear of);
  • They ask for a second opinion if they are still not happy;
  • If no progress is being made, please contact PALS if treatment is still being given, or POhWER , if treatment has finished and they will help you with your complaint;
  • Alternatively, contact Ringrose Law and we will provide free initial advice to try and help you resolve the situation, or recommend commencing legal action if appropriate

Should you have a matter to wish to discuss confidently with us please contact us on 01522 561020.

John Knight is the Head of the Personal Injury and Medical Negligence departments at Ringrose Law. He has worked in the Personal Injury team at Ringrose Law since 2003, and particularly specialises in complex and high value claims such as accidents at work, road traffic accidents and accidents resulting in death. He also specialises in representing families at inquests and helping people suffering serious injuries from assaults or other criminal activities via the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority.