Families Enraged As Cancer Care Delayed For Queen's Funeral: 'An Obscenity'

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has triggered a wave of canceled hospital appointments, affecting thousands of patients across the United Kingdom.

The U.K. government declared a bank holiday on Monday, September 19, to mark the queen's funeral. As a result, several National Health Service (NHS) operations have canceled thousands of non-urgent appointments and procedures—including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, maternity checks and some cancer treatments, according to the independent media platform openDemocracy.

The surge of delayed appointments adds to hospital waiting lists that are already at an all-time high. NHS data shows that a record 6.8 million people were waiting for appointments at the end of July, including more than 377,000 patients who had been waiting for over a year.

Queen Elizabeth II
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown placed on top, is carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, during the ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, London, where it will lie in state ahead of her funeral on Monday, on September 14, 2022 in London, England Getty

Cancer patients have borne a large part of the brunt—nearly 40 percent had to wait longer than the two-month maximum to start treatment after being urgently referred by their general practitioner, according to the NHS.

Patients and loved ones took to the internet with fury over the cancellations this week.

In a tweet with over 140,000 likes, a man identified only as Matt said on Tuesday, "Wife's breast cancer appointment cancelled [sic] Monday, which means all breast cancer appointments are cancelled [sic] on Monday. She has a new one in a month. I'm sure she'll be fine, but that's a wait that will almost certainly cost lives. This is an obscenity, in the name of the monarchy."

He later followed up, "It's just preliminary at this point so I'm sure it won't cause an issue for us. She's been waiting 6 months though. I'm f**king livid."

Rebecca Rose, who called into the Times Radio show on Wednesday, said her appointment to see a therapist on Monday was also canceled. She had already waited over four months for the visit, which she was now waiting to rebook.

"It's very disheartening, if I'm being honest," she said. "I appreciate the funeral, etc., but I kind of would've expected them to potentially close for the time of the funeral, not the whole day, and they could've kind of worked around that. But for me it is kind of a lifeline, the therapy, and it was kind of—I know it sounds quite dramatic, but it was kind of a light at the end of the tunnel."

In addition to the hospital appointment cancellations, the National Association of Funeral Directors announced that some funerals will be postponed on Monday. Several food banks, including Widnes Foodbank and Bournemouth Foodbank Centres, will also shut their doors.

Newsweek reached out to the NHS for comment.