Inquiry launched into 450000 missed breast cancer screenings

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He has announced an independent review and apologised to the women and their families.

Some 150,000 of those women have now died, and the United Kingdom health secretary admitted between 135 and 270 of them developed breast cancer that shortened their lives.

Dr Jenny Harries, PHE deputy medical director said: "On behalf of NHS Breast Screening services, we apologise to the women affected and we are writing to them to offer a catch-up screening appointment".

Trixie Gough, 76, from Norfolk, who died three days after Christmas in 2015 from breast cancer.

When the National Breast Screening Service was launched in 2009 the new IT was bolted on to the existing system.

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Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, the Health and Social Care Secretary said the affected group of women were not sent invitations before their 71 birthday because "there was a computer algorithm failure", which dated back to 2009.

Of the 450,000 women affected, just 309,000 are still alive.

A number of women who missed screenings are understood to have since developed cancer.

She said: "We are deeply saddened and extremely concerned to hear that so many women have been let down by such a colossal systematic failure". All women who missed scans will be invited for one. He noted that all general practitioners would be briefed on how they should respond, and said the issue was first raised as a potential problem in January.

"She was full of life, full of beans - she had two grandchildren and would do anything for them", Ms Radley said.

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Experts say more than 200 mammographers and at least 50 radiologists are needed urgently.

Samia al Qadhi is chief executive of Breast Cancer Care - the charity partner of this year's OVO Energy Women's Tour which passes through Suffolk.

'GPs will be advised about this at the same time as patients, so if patients are anxious, we would encourage them not to contact their GP about this matter in the first instance but to contact the dedicated national helpline that has been set up - 0800 169 2692 - or to look on the NHS Choices website for more information'.

Issues included the method by which age parameters are programmed into it, Mr Hunt said. "We have gone back and fixed all these glitches and audited that, so women can be assured going forward that that is sorted".

Hunt responded: "I'm afraid she is absolutely right and the truth is we do have a quality assurance programme and it failed to pick this problem up for far too long so we need to understand why that happened".

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