It has been announced that over 40,000 women in England have not received information regarding cervical cancer screening after a failure to send out letters by the NHS.

Every year almost 4.5 million women aged between 25 to 64 years old are invited for a cervical cancer screening. Women aged 25 to 49 years old are invited for a screening every three years and the older generation are invited every five years.

Between January and June of this year the NHS failed to distribute letters regarding information about cervical cancer screenings to over 40,000 women in England. The letters mainly consisted of test results, invitations or reminders for screenings.

It has been estimated that possibly 200 test results which were not sent out in fact showed abnormal results. In an attempt to resolve the error, the NHS are now issuing further testing to those with any abnormal results. Many women are hesitant to attend these appointments and errors such as this reduce their confidence in the system.

This follows the recent breast cancer screening blunder in which the NHS failed to invite over 174,000 women for a breast cancer screening. Whilst this current error has been identified much sooner than that of the breast cancer scandal, if the correct procedures had been followed accurately then errors like this would not have occurred at all.

Capita, the organisation who provides the service for NHS England has apologised for the mistake. They have admitted liability for not following the correct process for uploading, organising and checking results. It has been stated that Capita are now taking the appropriate disciplinary action. The senior manager who was responsible for this contract has now resigned and it has been suggested that Capita should be stripped of this contract.

The mismanagement of clinical correspondence can cause real harm to patients, preventing them from accessing the treatment they need as early as possible. In this case, the failure to distribute test results and screening invitations properly has led to cancer tests going undelivered – with the potential to delay vital, lifesaving treatment for patients.

If negligence is found to have occurred, those affected may be able to pursue compensation claims for the harm and suffering they have endured.

Our advice to anybody that has been affected by this scandal is to contact our Medical Negligence Specialists without delay who will be able to guide them on the best way forward.

If you, or any of your family members have been affected by the recent Cervical Cancer Screening Blunder, whether you are located in Skegness, Boston, rural Lincolnshire or beyond, please contact the Hodgkinsons Medical Negligence Team on 01754 897150.

You can contact the news desk to share your experience on [email protected] or by calling 01522 837217. 

Chloe Sullivan is the Medical Negligence Solicitor at Hodgkinsons Solicitors Skegness.