Queen Elizabeth's Funeral May Have Delayed Medical Care for Thousands of Patients

·2 min read
Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth

The death of England’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has stirred up debates about colonialism and the ways the British monarchy has, and continues to do harm.

But, it’s not just the Queen’s legacy that’s stirring up controversy in the days after her death, it’s also her funeral. According to openDemocracy, a United Kingdom-based news outlet, thousands of patients in England have had hospital appointments rescheduled because of the Queen’s funeral.

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The delay seems tied to the UK government’s decision to declare the Queen’s funeral, September 19th, a “bank holiday” to allow mourners to “pay their respects to Her Majesty.”

Although employers aren’t required to give their employees time off, according to openDemocracy, many hospital trusts are encouraging providers to reschedule non-emergency patients. This includes patients scheduled for hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, maternity checks, and certain cancer checks, according to openDemocracy.

The timing, according to this reporting, could not be worse. Delays in the UK’s national health care system, the National Health Service (NHS), are at an all-time high this year. Over 6.8 million people were still waiting for health care appointments as of the end of July, according to the NHS.

On average, NHS patients have been waiting just over 13 weeks for appointments, according to the NHS. Roughly 377,689 patients have reported waiting over a year for an appointment. And nearly 40 percent of cancer patients had their treatment delayed past the two-month maximum set by the NHS, according to the NHS.

If it is, in fact, the case that hospitals are pushing back patients’ appointments, it is obviously not the now-deceased Queen Elizabeth’s fault. But it is an interesting flash-point in a moment where Black folks, in particular, like Meghan Markle and Professor Uju Anya, are calling out the ways the institution of the British monarchy has caused serious harm.