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Medical negligence lawyer shocked by reports of breast cancer screening recalls

Review of breast cancer screening service in Oxfordshire released

Mammogram results in Oxfordshire reviewed

19 December 2014

A review of the breast screening service at the Churchill Hospital in Oxfordshire carried out in August 2014 looked at 624 cases and resulted in 30 women being recalled for assessment.

30 of the recalled women have been diagnosed with breast cancer and were referred for treatment in August. 

Public Health England, the NHS Breast Screening Programme and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust have carried out a formal investigation to see what lessons can be learnt from these cases. 

The review was triggered when four women developed an ‘interval cancer’ after having a follow-up assessment to their mammogram. 

Follow-up assessments are carried out if there are concerns about the initial mammogram.  They can include more mammograms, biopsies, or breast ultrasound.

These cases involved an assessment being carried out by one radiologist who has not undertaken any assessments since the investigation was initiated.  

Tests carried out during the assessment process will now be reviewed by two different radiologists before women are contacted about the results. 

Dr Tony Berendt, medical director of the Trust, said, "We recognise the anxiety that this review could cause to women in Oxfordshire who currently undergo three-yearly routine breast mammograms. However, I would like to reassure women that there are no concerns about the function of the county’s breast screening programme. It is important for women to attend their routine mammogram appointments when called and they can be confident about the service they receive."

Cancer claims medical negligence partner at Leigh Day, Maria Panteli, said:

“It is worrying to hear that women are being recalled after undergoing breast cancer screening, and that six women have developed breast cancer.

“This is extremely distressing for the women concerned, and questions must be asked as to whether the cancer screening programme in Oxford is fit for purpose.

“Thousands of women throughout the UK undergo breast screening tests every year and they need to be reassured that the tests are carried out to the highest possible standard.” 

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