Scottish women have been urged to request a breast cancer screening after ministers have revealed nearly 4,000 women in the country did not receive their invite for a routine check following an IT glitch.
Conservative MSP Jamie Greene alerted the public to the figures after the Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) led an investigation regarding Scotland’s breast cancer screening programme from June to December 2016.
It revealed that 3,831 females in Scotland “had not received breast screening invitations in line with standard timescales”, which is between three and nine years.
Mr Greene raised awareness of this failure at First Minister’s Questions earlier this week, as a similar problem recently occurred again. Last week, the Scottish government announced that 1,761 women over the age of 70 had not been invited for breast cancer screening and were now being contacted by the NHS to book one.
As a result, Mr Greene stated that the latest hitch had been “predictable” due to the previous blunder by NHS Scotland.
This is despite HIS recommending an improvement into the IT programme in its review.
Speaking to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, he asked: “Why was the 2016 recommendation ignored? And what reassurances can she give today that the screening programme IT system is fit for purpose?”
Indeed, an official for HIS advised “on-going monitoring to ensure any initial software problems are appropriately resolved and any future risks identified are appropriately dealt with”. However, the latest failure raises concerns that this did not occur.
In response to Mr Greene’s comments, Ms Sturgeon said this current IT breakdown is not connected to the first one and therefore was not predictable as the MSP claims.
Whether or not it was foreseeable, NHS Scotland’s IT programme for breast screening may now be monitored closely after this mishap, particularly following the “significant incident” that occurred in England regarding failure to alert women about routine checks earlier this year.
In May, it was revealed that 450,000 women did not receive an invite to their final screenings between 2009 and 2018.
Breast cancer charities have come out to say the latest issue is deeply worrying, with Breast Cancer Now’s Mia Rosenblatt telling the Express the government’s actions are “unacceptable”.
Despite this, Ms Sturgeon has recently shown her support for these non-profit organisations that raise money and awareness for sufferers. Earlier this week, the Scottish National Party leader dressed up in a pink wig, scarf and sunglasses to promote Breast Cancer Now.
She was joined by Scottish Conservatives’ leader Ruth Davidson, Scottish Labour’s Jackie Baillie, co-convenor Scottish Green Party and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Patrik Harvie in donning colourful accessories to advertise the charity’s Wear It Pink fundraiser.
The event will take place on October 19th to raise money for breast cancer research by encouraging the public to wear pink and make a donation for doing so.
Women who are currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer can show their support for the charity by wearing pink next month as well, by choosing some stylish mastectomy clothing in the bright shade here.