Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, is joining calls from leading charities in calling for the Government to clarify responsibility for the breast screening programme and ensure a senior authority is accountable for delivering screening.
Last year, it emerged that a number of women in England may not have been invited to their final routine breast screening appointment. The Independent Breast Screening Review was published yesterday, which investigated the circumstances of the incident, the impact it had on women affected, and made recommendations to prevent similar errors occurring in the future.
Following this, the then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, was told his statement to the House of Commons in May 2018, where he said that nearly 500,000 women had not been invited for breast cancer screening and that 270 may have died needlessly was based on wrong advice, an independent inquiry has found.
The Review itself (1) found that:
- The error was caused by ambiguity over when women should receive their final routine invitation to breast screening.
- There is a concerning lack of clarity around how the screening programme operates, with responsibilities split between several organisations and no over-arching senior figure.
- The error affected fewer women than was initially thought: around 67,000 women may not have received invitations to screening, not the 450,000 announced by the Government in May. The error dates back to 2013, not 2008 as the Government initially announced.
- Over 100,000 women were told by PHE that they may have been affected by the error when they did in fact receive their final invitation to screening. We are concerned that this caused unnecessary distress and anxiety.
- Breast Cancer Now is calling for governance of the screening programme to be clarified, to ensure that it is clear who is accountable for providing this vital service.
- The Review recommends that guidance is established to clarify the ages at which women should be invited for routine screening.
375 women in the Denton and Reddish constituency, were told they may not have been sent an invitation to their final routine breast screening. In response, Gwynne has laid several Parliamentary Questions to push the Government to deliver on the recommendations of the report.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“I was shocked when it was revealed that women up and down the country were caused unnecessary distress over the breast screening invitation error.
“I completely support the calls of charities such as Breast Cancer Now, who are calling for the Government to clarify responsibility for the screening programme and ensure a senior authority is accountable for delivering screening.”