An error in the NHS computer algorithm inviting women for routine screening for breast cancer may have lead to lives being cut short.
The fault in the algorithm meant a large number of women, aged 68 to 71, were not sent a letter inviting them for a mammogram. The error dates back to appointments from 2009 and it is estimated 450,000 women haven't been invited for their final breast cancer screening check. NHS data shows that around 46,000 women in the UK are affected by breast cancer every year.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, "It is not known whether any potential delay in diagnosis resulted in avoidable death but it is thought that between 135 and 270 women had their lives shortened as a result".
To address the issue, all those women living in the UK who should have had an invitation are due to receive one before the end of May 2018. In addition to help catch up the screening those aged 72 and over will also be given access to a helpline to help them decide whether screening is appropriate for them.
However, an open letter written by GP's and university professors has suggested that women should think twice before agreeing to catch-up screening. The medics advise that these women should only seek medical help if they notice clear symptoms as doctors believe that the programme can sometimes cause more unintended harm than good.
You can call the breast screening helpline number free on 0800 169 2692, or go to the NHS choices website for more information if you think you have been a victim of the NHS computer error.
If you have been injured as a result of any kind of clinical negligence and wish to pursue a claim then please give us a call on 0800 731 8539 or email us and one of our Norwich solicitors will be in touch.