`

Failure which left hundreds without breast cancer check is a ‘scandal’ says MP

Up to 75 women may have died early following blunders in a breast screening, according to latest estimates.
Up to 75 women may have died early following blunders in a breast screening, according to latest estimates.

Hundreds of women across Hartlepool and East Durham failed to be given a potentially life saving breast cancer check due to an IT error, it has been revealed.

More than 12,000 women across the North East and 174,000 nationwide have been affected by failures in the country’s breast screening programme, new Government figures have shown.

Grahame Morris

Grahame Morris

In Hartlepool, the figure stands at 224 while in Easington the number who missed out on receiving an invite to a mammogram scan stands at 274.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said last month that as many as 270 women may have died of breast cancer unnecessarily because of a system error, but that figure has since been revised to 75.

As a result of the IT issue, women aged between 68 and 71 were not invited to their final breast screening between 2009 and up into May this year.

Those who did not have a screening after their 68th birthday will now be invited for a scan, the Government has said.

The Government have been slow to react.

Grahame Morris

Easington Grahame Morris MP, who is also vice chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Radiography, said: “Two hundred and seventy four women in the Easington Constituency have been affected by the breast screening scandal.

“The Government have been slow to react and I support calls by charities like Breast Cancer Now calling for more specialist staff in radiology and mammography, so that all women who need appointments can get them as a matter of urgency.”

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: “Our priority throughout has been the wellbeing of affected women and giving them the support they need.

“I would like to reiterate our heartfelt and unreserved apology that this has happened.

“We welcome the terms of reference of the independent review and we will work fully with them to ensure it cannot happen again.”

More details about the NHS’s breast screening service visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-screening/.