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Hundreds of women at risk due to breast cancer screening error

breast_cancer.jpgA computer error in the NHS failed to send out invitation letters to hundreds of women for a breast cancer screening appointment.

Up to 270 women did no receive their invitations to a final routine breast cancer screening, a review has found.

By missing their breast cancer screening, tumours could have been missed and so all those women affected, under the age of 72, will receive an appointment for a catch-up mammogram.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said a computer algorithm failure was to blame, which meant, in some cases, women approaching their 71st birthday were not sent an invitation for a final breast scan as they should have been.

Hannah Bottomley, clinical negligence solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

I was deeply shocked and saddened to learn that, due to a computer error, 450,000 women were not called for breast screening in the UK. This is a huge number and the recent figures suggest that hundreds of women could have had their lives shortened as a result of this error.

Looking at the wording of the statement, to me this ultimately says that as a result of a computer error, 270 women could have died as a result of breast cancer, those deaths could have been avoided had the cancer been detected earlier with the mammograms they misses.

I am outraged that so many women have been subjected to such an unnecessary risk and that 270 women have paid for these mistakes with their lives.
Breast cancer survival rates are increasing but they are only increasing due to early detection and treatment. Denying women the possibility of early detection denies them the opportunity to receive treatment and survive a disease which can ruin lives.

I remained horrified by the on-going revelations and would encourage anyone who is concerned about the possibility of missed mammograms to head to the NHS Choices website for more information

Read more about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and what you should look out for here.

Hannah Bottomley is a clinical negligence solicitor here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about clinical negligence issues or indeed any other aspect of this article and wish to speak to Hannah or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Hannah directly.