Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Entertaiment | By Kelly Sanders

Welsh breast screening programme to be reviewed

Welsh breast screening programme to be reviewed

The failure to invite the women for screening was because of IT issues which happened after 2009 and was discovered in January this year. 309,000 of the 450,000 women who missed out on the screenings are still alive.

"A complex IT problem with the breast screening invitation system has led to some women not being invited for their final screen between their sixty-eighth and seventy-first birthdays".

Jeremy Hunt said Wednesday in Parliament that the mistake appeared to be the result of a "computer algorithm failure" dating back to 2009. The health secretary continued that he was deeply sorry for any "pain" that was caused by this error, and that by the end of May, women under the age of 75 will be offered a routine mammogram.

All women aged 50 to 70 who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every three years as part of the programme, which is run by PHE.

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".

Nearly 300 women may have died in the United Kingdom because they missed out on breast cancer screenings due to a computer error.

Hunt has now ordered an independent review into the programme, which will include examining the processes and IT systems in place.

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Breast Screening Select is a browser-based application used to manage the call and recall of eligible women in England.

Hunt apologized "wholeheartedly and unreservedly" for the suffering caused and promised there would be an independent review of the national breast screening program.

The inquiry, which Hunt said will be expected in six months time, will be chaired by the Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive, Lynda Thomas, and Professor Martin Gore, consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden, who will oversee the entire breast screening programme.

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. Issues included the method by which age parameters are programmed into it, Mr Hunt said.

With the latter, a doctor will examine the area in question and, if they think the symptoms need further assessment, they'll refer patients to a specialist breast cancer clinic.

"I am glad the truth has come out, and I just hope that people take more notice of these glitches, it really does affect people's real lives, devastatingly, it really devastates".

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