Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently announced that a computer error had resulted in 450,000 women aged between 68 and 71 not being invited to a final routine screening for breast cancer. It is thought that the error could have resulted in up to 270 deaths. But what can you do if you or a loved one has been affected?

Research has shown that the risk to women of developing breast cancer increases as they get older. As a result of this, breast cancer screening is offered every 3 years to all women registered with a GP aged between 50 and up to their 71st birthday. Women are invited to undergo a mammogram, a kind of x-ray, which is capable of detecting breast cancer before any signs or symptoms can be seen or felt. If breast cancer is present it can be treated at an early stage, providing an increased chance of successfully removing it.

A computer error meant that the ages of women were incorrectly calculated so that screening was only offered up until their 70th birthday rather than their 71st. This resulted in up to 450,000 women never receiving an invitation to attend a final routine screening before reaching their 71st birthday. It is estimated that of those affected, up to 270 women may have since died from breast cancer.

Jeremy Hunt promised that “best endeavours” would be used to contact the remaining relatives of those women affected by the glitch who had subsequently died from breast cancer. He also said that a process was being set up to establish whether the missed scan was a likely cause of death. If the missed scan was considered to be a cause of death then compensation to the victim’s family will be offered.

What Can I Do If I/My Relative Has Been Affected?

If you or a relative are one of the women who was not invited to a final breast cancer screening between the ages of 68 and 71, and subsequently developed breast cancer, you may be entitled to compensation for medical negligence for any injuries you suffered as a result.

All medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. In carrying out that duty they are required to follow the common practices of fellow medical professionals and published guidelines. Those guidelines say that screening should be offered up until your 71st birthday and the duty of care owed to you may have been breached in failing to invite you to a final screening.

To be successful in any claim for compensation it will be necessary to show that any harm caused to you or a relative was as a result of a failure to undergo breast cancer screening and that failure led to a delay in diagnosis which affected the treatment provided.


At Jordans Solicitors we have a dedicated team of professionals experienced in pursuing claims for compensation against hospitals and medical professionals on behalf of clients. If you have been affected by the breast cancer screening error, or have suffered any other injury at the hands of medical professionals, and would like to know if you may be entitled to receive compensation please contact a member of our clinical negligence team on 01924 457 171 or request a callback.

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