Thursday, 24 May, 2018

450000 women missed out on breast cancer screening due to IT errors

Consultant examines mammogram images for signs of breast cancer Consultant examines mammogram images for signs of breast cancer
Becky Salazar | 03 May, 2018, 17:27

Jeremy Hunt "apologised wholeheartedly" for the "eight-year oversight", says the i.

And it's now thought that up to 270 women may have gone on to develop the disease.

"There has always got to be some blame these things don't just happen ... it is never the computer that goes wrong it is the person that put the information in or took it out", he said.

Like many types of cancer, treatment varies depending on the aggressiveness and stage of the condition, as well as the patient's general health and if they're a woman, whether they have reached the menopause.

Public Health England (PHE) has launched an independent review into the "serious failure" in the programme.

Hunt told the House of Commons that because of a computer algorithm failure an estimated 450,000 women aged between 68 and 71 were not invited to their final breast screening between 2009 and the start of 2018.

Hunt said the problem came to light because an upgrade to the invitation screening IT system provided improved data to local services on the actual ages of the women receiving screening invitations.

Mahindra Rise, an Indian multinational auto manufacturing company has taken an initiative to create awareness amongst women in rural India against the Breast Cancer disease. Around four in every five women can expect to survive, thanks in part to the early diagnosis provided by the national screening service.

Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director of Public Health England, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There are a number of organisations involved in this and I think we are all - Public Health England, the NHS, NHS Digital, the Department of Health - devastated by this".

And Professor Helen StokesLampard of the Royal College of Global Positioning System said: "We are shocked to learn hundreds of thousands of women in England missed out on their breast screening". According to Hunt, 309,000 of the affected women are still alive.

Her husband Brian, 77, from Norfolk, said yesterday he had no idea of the extent of the scandal until Jeremy Hunt admitted to the NHS failure.

Mr Hunt confirmed work is ongoing between the United Kingdom and Welsh governments to ensure the letters are sent out to everyone. After 70, women can still have screening if they choose to by contacting their GP.

More resources will be made available to ensure the additional screenings are carried out without delay to any patients.

Hunt said: "All women affected who wish to be screened will receive an appointment within the next six months - of course we intend the vast majority to be much sooner than that".

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