GPs in melanoma negligence troubles

This article was published on: 10/6/16

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, to be in with the best chance of survival it is vital that those diagnosed with it be seen by medical experts as soon as possible to provide a plan of action. GPs have recently come under fire for failing to do so, with patients waiting up to 6 weeks to see a specialist.

The UK’s deadliest killer

Melanoma is often formed through exposure to UV. Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the chances of developing melanoma, particularly for fair skinned people and those not regularly exposed to sunlight.

The cancerous cells often form around moles, which makes it vitally important to get moles checked if you experience growth in any of them. There are 4 stages of Melanoma with varying degrees of surgery attempted at each stage, from cutting out a mole and skin tissue to removal of lymph nodes and affected tissue throughout the body.

Melanoma kills up to 7 people every day in the UK, affecting around 14,500 people. Despite survival rates for 1, 5 and 10 years following diagnosis all increasing to above 90%, around 2,500 still die each year from the disease, making it Britain’s deadliest killer given its trait of spreading around the body.

Failed referrals

The recent worries with referrals has stemmed from statistics which show almost 1 in 3 patients with malignant melanoma are not being referred for urgent tests. The research revealed that 29% of cases involving melanoma were not given urgent tests and were being diagnosed only after referral to a specialist (with a regular waiting time of 6 weeks).

Leaving the referrals so long can harm the chances of dealing with the cancer quickly, risking spread and potential to develop into “advanced melanoma” which means the spread heads from it’s source out to nearby lymph nodes or even further afield throughout the body.

If a doctor suspects possible cancer problems they are being urged by health watchdog NICE to use the urgent referrals system and ensure people are tested within 2 weeks. If this becomes commonplace, it could help save many lives every year.

Dealing with negligence

Failing to refer a patient in need of urgent care can open the risk of life changing (or life threatening) consequences. This does not only apply to cancer sufferers but to any disease or injury which a doctor has reason to suspect is serious.

Scott Rees & Co often find cases of misdiagnosed diseases or ill informed opinions of doctors who have assessed a patient and not picked up the correct illness or injury. These types of mistakes can cost lives and devastate families knowing that a serious injury or fatality could have been avoided.

If you feel that this has happened in your life, or in the life of somebody you know, there are options available to try and rectify the mistakes. Scott Rees & Co has links with industry experts who form a team for every serious injury case to try and plan future surgery, treatment, recovery and financial planning to put right the original wrongdoing.

If you’d like any information on the services we provide including what our expert teams can do for you, you can get some free, impartial advice from us on 0800 092 2896 or you can get in touch online using our contact page here.

We understand a serious injury requires much more care and input than a normal personal injury and that is the service we aim to provide. If you could benefit from legal assistance, call Scott Rees & Co and see how we can help.

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