From cancer screenings to hip replacements, hospitals are canceling care on the day of the Queen's funeral. People who have waited years for treatment are furious.
- Many Brits have waited months or more for medical appointments, only to have them canceled because of the Queen's funeral.
- The government declared the funeral day will be a bank holiday and doctors' offices are allowed to close.
Thousands of people in the UK — some of whom have waited years for medical care — have been put back on hospital waitlists for "non-urgent" procedures and appointments that had been scheduled for the day of the Queen's funeral.
Procedures including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgeries, maternity checks, and some cancer treatments have been canceled or delayed due to the national bank holiday announced for Monday, September 19.
The National Health Service (NHS) informed general practitioners that they are permitted to close Monday to pay their respects to the Queen, and some hospitals have also postponed appointments that were not considered urgent, ITV reported.
For patients who have endured record-long waits to receive medical care, getting bumped back onto the waitlist has been devastating.
They will likely wait several more months to see a specialist. Nearly 6.8 million people in the UK were waiting for appointments at the end of July — a record high — and more than 377,000 of them had been waiting for a year or more, Open Democracy reported.
—Sarah-Louise (@slk_writes) September 12, 2022
One Twitter user who goes by Sarah-Louise wrote that two people she knows from a patient support group had "long-awaited operations" to remove uterine fibroids, which were canceled due to the funeral. Fibroid removals may not be considered urgent because the growths are usually non-cancerous, but they can accumulate in and around the uterus, causing pelvic pain.
—Atlanta ♿️#PAL❤️ #LeftUnity #NEISvoid (@areyoflight) September 12, 2022
"Life-threatening illlness and cancer don't take bank holidays," wrote a Twitter user named Atlanta.
"Further delays to treatments/appts will add to the stress that both patients & staff are already under," they continued in another tweet.
Mixed messaging: Some centers remain open, some are closed but haven't told patients
In a letter to healthcare providers, the NHS said providers should "ensure staff, patients, and the public are made aware of any changes to services by utilising available patient communications, websites and on-site notices." But for some patients, that was not the case.
—venus ⚢❤️ | HE/FAE (@VENUSFAEDYKE) September 13, 2022
"I cannot fucking believe a Twitter post is how I find out my cancer appointment was cancelled before the hospital even told me," another Twitter user wrote on Tuesday.
Delays associated with the funeral will only add to wait times for care, which were already longer than what's medically recommended. Almost 40% of cancer patients seen by the NHS had their treatment delayed two months or more due to the pandemic, exceeding the maximum wait time recommended by Cancer Research UK.
Some cancer centers have said they will remain open and see patients as usual on Monday, ITV reported. Emergency care and procedures deemed "urgent" will also go on as scheduled, but patients' and providers' definitions of urgency may differ.
—Ian Parsons NO DM's #FBPE #FBNHS (@IanLabour) September 12, 2022
Family members of people with canceled appointments also spoke out on social media, citing the funeral as the reason for cancellations. While many outlets have reported that is the case, NHS England said the decision was "for trusts to make locally," according to Open Democracy.
—Paul Patrick (@PaulTyredagh81) September 13, 2022
—theplushbunni (@plushbunni) September 13, 2022
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