Following the news that almost half a million women in England have failed to be sent routine appointments for breast screening appointments, it is thought that up to 270 women may have died of breast cancer as a result of missed diagnosis following a ‘computer algorithm failure’, with potentially many more going undiagnosed.
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced an independent review into the issue, after it was announced that 450,000 women between the ages of 61 and 71 had failed to get invitations to appointments since 2009.
Of the 450,000 women affected, it is reported that 309,000 are still alive and in their 70s. However the Health Secretary has announced in a statement to Parliament that there may be between 135 and 270 women whose lives have been shortened as a result.
As a medical negligence lawyer, I see cases of missed or delayed diagnosis on a regular basis, however this is a catastrophic error by the NHS. Whilst we accept that mistakes can happen, this is an error that occurred almost ten years ago so why wasn’t it picked up sooner? There needs to a review into the NHS back-up systems and procedures to identify and efficiently deal with problems.
We’ve all seen the figures on cancer nowadays, it needs to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to ensure the best chance of survival, therefore delays of what could be nearly ten years for some women, is very worrying.
The Health Secretary has announced that all women who have been affected by this will be contacted by the end of May 2018, with those under 75 being offered a routine mammogram. Furthermore, any woman who wants a mammogram will get one within six months.
If you or a family member has been affected by this, a national helpline has been set up for further advice and information on what to do. The number is: 0800 169 2692.
Here at Farleys our specialist medical negligence team are experts in this area of law, successfully securing compensation and medical care for clients who have suffered as a result of misdiagnosis or medical negligence. For a free initial claim assessment contact Farleys Solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.