Up to 74 women had their lives cut short as a result of missed breast screening appointments, according to the latest information from the Department of Health and Social Care.
In a written statement to the House of Commons yesterday (4 June 2018), the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said an analysis by Public Health England (PHE), using data provided by NHS Digital, suggests that up to 174,000 women were affected by the issue. PHE now estimates that the numbers who may have had their lives shortened as a result of missed screening appointments is less than 75, lower than the original estimates given.
As of 18 May, PHE had contacted 195,565 women registered with a GP in England. Written correspondence has been sent to 503 women in Scotland, 94 women in Wales and 72 women in Northern Ireland. As of 1 June, 26,774 women had received an appointment for screening.
Secretary Hunt reported that, over the last four weeks, the NHS has put in place an additional 68,000 screening appointments nationally and is on track to ensure that all women affected who want a screen will be seen by the end of October, without impacting on other patients.
On this issue, he expressed his thanks to clinical staff. “I want to put on record my enormous gratitude to clinical staff who have worked tirelessly to offer additional appointments and to management teams who have co-ordinated and pooled their resources across different centres, or looked to other private providers, to expand capacity to manage the extra demand,” the Secretary said.