1. ITV Report

Hospital admits liability in three cases of breast cancer

North Cumbria Hospital trust Photo: ITV Border

North Cumbria Hospital Trust has admitted liability in three cases where women were told they did not have breast cancer when in fact they did. The cases date back to July 2010. The Trust has sent out formal letters of apologies to the women, who are now in line for compensation.

The Trust have said they will continue to work closely with the solicitors involved in order to try and achieve a 'satisfactory resolution of any justified claims'.

The Trust runs the Cumberland Infirmary Credit: ITV Border

In total 16 women were wrongly told they didn't have the disease after mistakes were made in the screening process by the North Cumbria trust which runs the hospitals in Carlisle and Whitehaven.

The mistakes were spotted in 2010 after inspectors discovered serious problems. The trust has apologised unreservedly and says it is working to resolve the other 13 cases.

Mike Walker, Medical Director for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“The Trust has been proactively investigating the care delivered to women who were recalled following the review and the suspension of the breast screening programme with the aim of finding resolution as soon as we can.

“We are now in a position to accept liability in three cases and have apologised to the women involved. This organisation is committed to providing an excellent service and we recognise the importance of learning from mistakes of this nature. We have taken steps to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future and we apologise unreservedly for the shortcomings in their care.”


ITV Border's Correspondent John Bevir has been speaking to one of the women who were wrongly diagnosed, she is not one of the three who can now claim compensation but she says that she is still not happy about what happened.

After an investigation into the breast screening incident in North Cumbria in July 2010, a report with recommendations for improvement was published, this was to ensure lessons were learnt and developments were put in place.

The Trust say that all of the recommendations in the report have been fully implemented and are now embedded into the service.

The breast screening service at North Cumbria began again on 4th January 2011. Screening diagnosis and treatment services are being delivered locally with support from Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust and the North Cumbria Trust extended its gratitude to the Newcastle Trust for it's support and said the service now forms part of a much wider screening unit.

The new service included plans for catch up so that women whose screenswere delayed were seen as soon as possible. The programme is expecting to haveachieved this and be back on track by December 2012. The Trust has said all women affected by thesuspension of the service have had action taken to ensure they are not at a disadvantage.

They added that the new screening service includes plans for the introduction of newdigital mammography and they are also planning to introduce a new screeningservice for older women as soon as possible.