New Cancer Screening Investigation In North Cumbria

New Cancer Screening Investigation In North Cumbria

Women in north Cumbria face further worries after it emerged there is an investigation into a hospital service which checks for cervical cancer.

NHS England has joined forces with Public Health England and NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to urgently look into the colposcopy service at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust.

The investigation was sparked following an “incident” regarding the service, which carries out further examinations of women who have had abnormal cervical smears and decides if further treatment is needed. Details of the incident or associated issues have not been revealed, but checks are now underway to ensure no patients are affected.

NHS bosses would say only that it related to a communication issue between the trust, which runs both West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary, and other agencies when a patient is discharged.

It is another blow to female cancer services in the region, as the effects of a breast cancer screening blunder three years ago are still being felt.

In 2010, an independent review was announced into 1,600 breast screening patient records spanning the previous three years.

It was subsequently found that 16 who had been given the all-clear did in fact have breast cancer.

Moira Angel, director of Nursing for the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area team of NHS England, confirmed that the service was being investigated, but reassured patients the risk of them being affected was low. We are currently investigating an administrative issue concerning the colposcopy service at North Cumbria Hospitals NHS Trust,” she said.

“The immediate issue has now been resolved and we would like to reassure women who have used the service that the risk of this having an effect on them is very low.

“However, the quality and safety of local health services is of paramount importance to us and we are currently carrying out a check to establish if any patients were affected and may need to have their recall date altered.

“If we do identify any patients whose recall date needs to be altered as result of this issue, as a precaution, we will contact them with information and advice.”

A spokeswoman for NHS CCG said: “NHS England are leading the review into colposcopy services at NCUHT, as they are responsible for commissioning screening services.

“However, we are working with them and Public Health England to ensure this review is completed as thoroughly and quickly as possible.”