1. ITV Report

Welsh breast screening programme to be reviewed

Credit: PA

Public Health Wales says it will review the breast screening programme in Wales after a 'serious failure' led to 450,000 women in England not getting an invitation for screening.

The Welsh Government does not believe a breast cancer screening error has affected them even though they used the same IT system as England, according to Jeremy Hunt.

The English Health Secretary outlined the Welsh administration's view in the Commons as he updated MPs about a "computer algorithm" failure dating back to 2009, which has affected the screening programme in England.

Some 450,000 women aged between 68 and 71 in England missed out on a final routine breast screening appointment before their 70th birthday due to an IT failure to send invitations.

Mr Hunt confirmed work is ongoing between the UK and Welsh governments to ensure the letters are sent out to everyone.

Speaking in the Commons, Labour MP Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) said:

"Can I ask the Secretary of State what conversations he's had with the Welsh Secretary because having long since passed the ages he mentioned, I certainly was never invited for a screening, I had to ask for one and eventually got the screening in England."

Mr Hunt replied: "We haven't had conversations at ministerial level but we have had conversations at official level.

"The Welsh administration doesn't believe that this problem has affected them, even though they were using the same IT system that we were using in England, but that is their view.

"But obviously our concern is of people living in England registered with a Welsh GP or people living in Wales registered with an English GP.

"And so that's why we're having constructive discussions to share IT information to make sure that everyone in England or Wales registered with a GP will get that letter."

We have been made aware of the issues affecting the breast screening programme in England.

We would like to reassure women in Wales that we believe this issue to be one that predominantly affects England, however as a precaution Public Health Wales is reviewing the Welsh breast screening programme to ensure all eligible women are invited for screening.

– Welsh Government spokesperson