Public Health

05.06.18

Breast cancer screening blunder affected up to 174,000 women

Around 174,000 women were affected by the breast cancer screening invitation error, a new government update has suggested.

Last month Hunt announced an independent review into the scandal that saw thousands of women aged between 68 and 71 fail to receive invitations to screening due to a computer algorithm since 2009.

Initial estimates were that the blunder may have affected 450,000 women, but yesterday the health secretary made a follow up statement, in which he revealed that the figure was in fact much lower.

Using data provided by NHS Digital, it is understood that up to 174,000 women were affected by the issues, and of these up to 130,000 have been confirmed as still being alive.

Consequently, Hunt said that the number of women estimated to have had their lives shortened as a result of the error is estimated to be less than 75.

Over the last four weeks, the NHS has provided an additional 68,000 screening appointments for patients experiencing delays as a result of catching up with the missed screens, and Hunt said that the NHS is on track to screen all affected women who want an appointment by the end of October.

Updating Parliament on the progress of the independent review into the error, chaired by Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support and Professor Martin Gore, consultant medical oncologist and professor of cancer medicine at the Royal Marsden, with Peter Wyman from the CQC as vice chair, Hunt said: “I can now confirm that we have agreed the terms of reference for this review, details of which are attached to this statement.

“The chairs are considering how best to involve affected women, their families and wider stakeholders and will release information on this when it is available.”

He added: “Our cancer screening programme is widely recognised as world-leading, but on this occasion a number of women have been let down.

“It is now clear that this may have resulted in significant harm for a small number of women, while thousands more have faced unnecessary distress and anxiety as they waited to hear if they have been affected.”

He repeated his “wholehearted and unreserved” apology to the women affected and their families.

Responding to Hunt’s follow up statement, Fiona Hazell, director of policy and engagement at Breast Cancer Now, welcomed the news that the number of women affected was far fewer than previously thought, but said that this will not be reassuring to those who missed their invitations.

She added: “For those women who developed breast cancers that could have been picked up earlier through screening, and the estimated 75 women who have had their lives shortened, this remains a devastating failure.

“The independent review must now thoroughly investigate how this was allowed to happen and ensure it can never be repeated.”

Top image: kali9

 

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Lack of progress around growing waiting list could fuel surge in negligence claims against the NHS

22/03/2019Lack of progress around growing waiting list could fuel surge in negligence claims against the NHS

A rise in negligence claims against the NHS has been predicted by the government’s spending watchdog as it warns that “insufficient p... more >
Department of Health announces day surgery shake-up in Northern Ireland

22/03/2019Department of Health announces day surgery shake-up in Northern Ireland

The Department of Health (DoH) has announced “radical plans” to shake up day surgery across Northern Ireland. Thousands of routi... more >
‘Impossible’ for healthcare trust to remain open with 280 jobs set to go

22/03/2019‘Impossible’ for healthcare trust to remain open with 280 jobs set to go

A 150-year-old private health trust has announced it will have to close, with all services and 280 staff expected to be lost. All Hallows He... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Personal Health Budgets: empowering individuals

20/03/2019Personal Health Budgets: empowering individuals

Jon Baker, PHBChoices director at NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) believes that the extension of Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) is a great opportunity for clinical commissioning groups (CCG) to expand and improve care provision – provided that the right infrastructure is in place. The personalisation agenda is transforming ou... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

20/03/2019Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

Kirstie Stott, director of The Inspiring Leaders Network, discusses organisational and system curiosity alongside the work of the Shadow Board Pr... more >
Fiction as Therapy

20/03/2019Fiction as Therapy

Elaine Bousfield of ZunTold Publishing – a press specialising in fiction for children and young people – discusses ‘Fiction as ... more >
Capturing funds for the NHS estate

20/03/2019Capturing funds for the NHS estate

Aahsan Rahman, department head of town planning at NHS Property Services (NHSPS), looks at an alternative and perhaps underutilised funding sourc... more >
The digital revolution for healthcare is now!

20/03/2019The digital revolution for healthcare is now!

Richard Corbridge, chief digital & information officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, focuses on the practices his trust has put in p... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

health service focus

View all News