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The Non-Treatment Scandal and the ‘Hidden’ Victims of Covid-19

We are increasingly concerned about the impact, including avoidable harm and death, which is being caused by the continuing unavailability of urgent diagnostics and treatment for thousands of non-COVID patients. The backlog of such cases is now significant and worsening. We implore the central and devolved Governments of the UK to take urgent strategic action, including in co-ordination and co-operation with each other, to prevent this becoming a second and perhaps even more serious health catastrophe arising from the pandemic in the UK.
The issues about people not receiving treatment because of diversion of pre-existing NHS resources to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic have come increasingly to the fore in recent days. There are obvious legal issues which arise about the rights of citizens to receive – and continue to receive – treatment from their health service. What are those rights, and what right do Governments in the UK or the health Trusts have to reduce services and not treat existing patients because of the current global health crisis?
The lack of diagnosis and treatment of non-COVID patients is putting many thousands of lives at risk, without them having any say in which risks they would rather take as between their established condition and exposure to the coronavirus. It is also denying dedicated health professionals the opportunity of doing what they came into their profession to do.
Read more: Theo Huckle QC, Justice Gap,

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