1,800 women 'let down' over breast cancer screenings by SNP

Almost 1,800 women have not been invited to their final breast cancer screening session in a serious failure in Scotland’s health system, the Scottish Government has admitted.

 

The then-SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison had told Parliament in May in regards to a similar problem in England that “the issue does not affect the NHS in Scotland” and “patients should be reassured that there are no problems with our breast screening programme records or information technology systems.”

However it has now emerged that 1,761 women aged over 71 were not invited to their final screening, some of whom should have been screened as long as three years ago.

David Stewart, Labour's health spokesperson said the admission would be "deeply distressing" to patients.

“It is vital that those women who are overdue their final screening receive one as quickly as possible." he said.

“I was in Parliament in May when the-then SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison said that there was no issue in Scotland’s breast cancer screening programme. We now know that was not the case and that almost 1,800 women have been badly, and potentially fatally, let down."

“If the government can be wrong on an issue as crucial as this, then many members of the public will rightly wonder if there are additional diagnostic screening failures in the NHS."

“SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman must now quickly establish why this failure occurred and how many women have been subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer after missing their screening.”

In a statement, the Jeane Freeman said that: “I know this will be a worrying time for the women affected and I apologise fully for any distress caused."

“The women are being contacted as a priority and resources have been put in place to ensure they are screened promptly and offered any wider support needed.”

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