A cervical screening error is said to have affected around 40,000 patients in the UK after another blunder resulted in letters not being sent out.
The error included test results not going out to a number of patients, and it’s since been discovered that hundreds showed abnormal results.
The error has been blamed on Capita, who the NHS outsourced this work to. It’s not the first time Capita has been embroiled in blunders surrounding the work they do for the public sector. When it comes to the NHS, lives are literally at stake, and this cannot be allowed to happen.
40,000 patients in England affected by cervical screening error
The number of women affected by the cervical screening error – 40,000 – is truly worrying.
Of those numbers, it’s understood that 4,000 of the letters that never went out related to test results. Up to 200 of those patients reportedly showed abnormal results indicated on the test.
This means hundreds of patients who are potentially living with cancer may not have received the vital warning they needed to seek further treatment.
The error affects letters that were supposed to go out between January and June this year.
How did the cervical screening error happen?
It’s understood that the cervical screening error was down to a simple oversight. This is not the first time an oversight has been at the heart of a scandal that could cost lives.
In a statement, Capita said that the “uploading, organising and checking” process hadn’t been followed. The senior manager responsible for the contract has reportedly left Capita, and disciplinary action is being taken.
The company has also apologised for the error.
The British Medical Association has branded the blunder as “frankly appalling” and described Capita’s service as “nothing short of shambolic”.
Dr Richard Vautrey of the BMA said:
“We know that, because of the nature of this procedure, many patients are already reluctant to attend these appointments, and therefore reminder letters are crucial.
Incidents like this, therefore, will hardly inspire confidence in the system and risk even fewer women getting checked.”
Our lawyers are on hand for anyone who needs advice if affected by the cervical screening error.