Health secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted that up to 270 women may have died from breast cancer, due to an error in the NHS’s computer algorithm.

PHE, Public Health England, came across this serious problem, while analysing the service earlier this year. The problem hasn’t come to light up until now, but occurred in NHS’s national breast screening problem in 2009.

Hunt came with a statement that, unfortunately, between 135 to 270 women may have had their lives shorten because of the error in the system, since up around 450,000 women, who should’ve been invited for breast screening between 2009 and 2018, were not.

309,000 of the women, who were supposed to be invited for a screening are still alive. Currently NHS’s Department of Health is sending invitations for screen tests to 65,000 of them, intending to also contact all women registered with a GP.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, and Professor Martin Gore, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Professor of Cancer Medicine at the Royal Mardsen, are going to chair and review a independent project, ordered by Hunt. With it he is planning to answer questions like “Why the error occurred in the first place and what can be done for those who were affected?”.

After James Ashworth, Shadow Secretary for Health, questioned if there is an assurance with bowel cancer and cervical cancer screening tests being proper and not compromised, Hunt said that “modern IT systems will improve the safety drastically and will make the job more reliable”.

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