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Women who were not offered breast screening have been contacted

68,000 screening appointments will be made available for catch-up mammography by October

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 05 June 2018

The NHS has tracked down and contacted the thousands of women aged between 68 and 71 who missed out on their final breast screening between 2009 and May 2018, health secretary Jeremey Hunt says.

When news of the scandal broke, Hunt pledged that the NHS would offer an appointment for screening to all women who missed their scheduled appointment as a result of the error and asked Public Health England to work with the NHS to contact women who missed their screening by the end of May.

This deadline was met with 195,565 affected women registered with a GP in England contacted by 18 May, and all affected women known to have moved to Scotland (503), Wales (94) or Northern Ireland (72) written to by 1 June, Hunt said in a written statement to parliament.

As of 1 June, 26,774 women had received an appointment for screening, and hundreds have already been screened, he said.

“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.”

An analysis by Public Health England, using data provided by NHS Digital, suggests that up to 174,000 women were not invited for screening when they should have been and that up to 130,000 are still alive.

“As a result, the numbers who may have had their lives shortened as a result of missing their screening is now estimated to be less than 75,” Hunt said.

“Whilst this figure is lower than the original estimates given in my statement, this does not lessen the devastating impact that this has had on some people’s lives.”

A dedicated helpline, which was established on 2 May 2018 to support women who may have concerns, has received over 46,000 calls.

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