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Cervical cancer screenings extended to every five years in Wales

Women are currently invited to a routine smear test every three years from the age of 25 but Cervical Screening Wales are to extend this to five years.

This is due to the success of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) testing which identifies people at a higher risk of developing cell changes which can cause cancer.

Evidence shows there is less risk of developing cancer in those where HPV has not been identified, therefore these women will now only need to attend a cervical screening every five years in Wales.

Lesley Herbertson, Partner in our clinical negligence team, said:

As we all know, well-administered health screening programmes save lives and medical advances, such as with HPV testing, can mean that screening is effective even when taking place at less regular intervals.

However, if there is an error in the way in which a screening programme is managed, such as a patient not receiving notification of a routine appointment, that can have devastating consequences. For example, a failure to be called for routine mammograms on an annual basis, where a patient has a familial risk of breast cancer, can lead to a delay in diagnosing their breast cancer and the consequent need for more extensive treatment and a possible reduction in life expectancy. Therefore, the system for screening needs to be as robust as the medical know-how and proper investment and management across the board is vital.

Lesley Herbertson is a Partner in clinical negligence here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about an error in medical screening or indeed any other aspect of clinical negligence and wish to speak to Lesley or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0800 027 2557 or contact Lesley directly.