UK admits 'serious' cancer screening failure for 450000 women

Women should be tested for breast cancer at age 30 experts say

Modal Trigger Shutterstock

Hunt apologized to the families of between 130 and 270 women who passed away as a result of the "administrative incompetence".

Around 450,000 women patients in England didn't undergo a final, routine breast cancer screening because of NHS technical errors.

It has emerged 450,000 women were not invited to appointments as they should have been, and as a result up to 270 maybe have "had their lives shortened", according to the BBC. Breast Cancer Now CEO Delyth Morgan told the Guardian it was "beyond belief" that the issue continued for a decade.

It provides breast screening every three years for all eligible women in Northern Ireland aged 50 and over.

"And those people have got families, friends and lives to lead, and they have been cut short".

Belinda Radley, 57, said that her mother, Trixie Gough, never received a letter and died three days after Christmas 2015.

She added: "Additional failsafe systems have been introduced to ensure the problem does not reoccur".

When was the last time you got a breast scan?

Baroness Morgan said Breast Cancer Now welcomed the inquiry to ensure similar mistakes can not be made. "It is beyond belief that this major mistake has been sustained for nearly a decade and we need to know why this has been allowed to happen", Morgan said.

"We know this will unfortunately be incredibly hard news for many women to hear".

Responding to the announcement, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners said: "We are shocked to learn that hundreds of thousands of women in England have missed out on their opportunity for breast screening".

Poor awareness of screening and breast cancer symptoms are among the reasons why the figures are so high among black women.

The cancer has also spread to other parts of her body.

What happens if I am affected?

People referred by their doctor will usually have a mammogram first, and may need an ultrasound if they're a woman aged 35 or under (as the breasts are denser and therefore mammograms aren't necessarily as effective). "We're very angry, obviously, because we don't know how long..."

"I feel absolutely let down".

Perhaps the gravest IT error in the history of the health service, it raises questions about the NHS's past and future. After 70, women can still have screening if they choose to by contacting their GP. Women can seek advice by calling the helpline on 0800 169 2692. This is an important public health programme, with robust quality assurance arrangements in place, which are continually monitored by the PHA.

Latest News