After being ‘incorrectly excluded’ from screening, a woman died of cervical cancer.
According to a Scottish Government minister, a lady died after being “incorrectly excluded” from a cervical cancer screening program.
Meanwhile, following an immediate assessment of cases, some 430 women in Scotland who were erroneously excluded from the programme over the last 24 years will be granted fast-tracked appointments with GP practices or gynaecology facilities.
Maree Todd, the Scottish minister for women’s health, told Holyrood that an NHS board audit in December 2020 “found a very tiny number of women had got cervical cancer after being incorrectly omitted from the screening programme following a hysterectomy.”
“I am deeply sorry to inform you that one of those women has passed away,” she added.
“These exclusions from the cervical screening program should not have happened, and I apologize to everyone who was harmed as a result of this mistake.
“I extend my heartfelt apologies to the women who were turned down for the program and later developed cancer, as well as their families.”
Ms Todd acknowledged that the occurrence “would be deeply concerning to many people” and that “devastating repercussions” had occurred for those ladies who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Ms Todd told MSPs that while “nothing I can say will fix that,” lessons will be learned “so it doesn’t happen again.”
While most hysterectomy patients have their uterus and cervix fully removed, some women may have a “sub-total hysterectomy,” in which some of the cervix is left behind — and these women must still be monitored for cervical cancer.
According to Ms Todd, an investigation “found there are occasions when exclusion has been implemented incorrectly across Scotland.”
She went on to say that it’s a “very complex subject that spans decades and involves a variety of potential faults.”
There are 220 women between the ages of 25 and 65 who were incorrectly excluded from cervical screening, and Ms Todd said they would be contacted to “apologize, explain the issue, and offer individualized advice.”
GPs have been urged to make these patients a priority for a “timely screening visit” in the coming weeks. (This is a brief piece.)