A nurse has accused the NHS of a “cover up” after she and thousands of others fell victim to the biggest cancer scandal in the health service’s history. Jeremy Hunt, the UK Health and Social Care Secretary, has admitted 450,000 women could be affected by the scandal and up to 270 may have died as a result. The women should have undergone screening but were not notified.
Mr Hunt blamed a computer algorithm for the error which began in 2009 and went unnoticed for almost a decade. The apparent IT glitch means that women whose cancer could have been spotted early went on to develop the disease.
The Mirror reports that the deadly breast cancer blunder was flagged up by NHS chiefs last year but Jeremy Hunt waited four months to tell the public. Cancer charities last night demanded to know how an IT blunder which may have caused deaths was not spotted for nearly a decade.
The Health Secretary apologised for the scandal and told the Commons up to 270 women may have died because of the major error which meant 450,000 breast cancer patients were not invited for screening. The Mirror added that a Whitehall source said an IT “upgrade” to the system in 2016 revealed a “computer algorithm failure” subsequently found to date back to 2009. Breast Cancer Care chief executive Samia al Qadhi said: “Hundreds of thousands of women have been failed by this appalling error and some have had their lives shortened as a result. “It is shocking that almost a decade has passed before this mistake was discovered.
The Daily Mail, described this revelation as a betrayal of 450,000 people.
Sources: The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mirror, BBC, The Daily Mail