Cervical cancer screening letters not sent out after NHS mix-up – putting over 40,000 women at risk

Cervical cancer screening letters have not been sent out. [Photo: Getty]
Cervical cancer screening letters have not been sent out. [Photo: Getty]

An ‘appalling’ NHS mix-up has seen cervical cancer screening letters fail to be sent out to approximately 43,200 women across the UK.

These letters include approximately 4,000 test results, some of which (between 150 and 200) contain abnormal results.

NHS England is said to be following up with the women affected, and have so far contacted half, according to the BBC.

The rest are compromised of both invitations inviting women to cervical test screenings and reminders for them to attend.

Women between the ages of 25 to 49 are offered cervical cancer screening every three years, while women older than 49 are invited every five.

In a statement, Capita, the company who holds the Primary Care Support England contract on behalf of the NHS, said: “Primary Care Support England is addressing an issue relating to issuing invitation and reminder letters regarding cervical screening correspondence.

It continues: “The risk to women of this incident is low and there is no current evidence of harm, but Capita nevertheless apologises to both the NHS and to the women whose correspondence was delayed.

“We have investigated the precise circumstances around this incident, and it is clear that the correct process for uploading, organising and checking data files was not properly followed.

“When the problem was discovered, it was not immediately escalated to senior leadership, or NHS England, by the individuals responsible.

“Capita is investigating the managerial handling of the matter and taking appropriate disciplinary action. Additionally, a senior executive responsible for this contract has already left Capita.”

Read more about cervical cancer screenings – and what exactly it’s like – here.

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