Apology issued as 1,761 women in Scotland not invited for final breast screening appointment

Almost 1,800 women are being contacted by the NHS after it emerged they were not invited for breast screening appointments.

It comes after a review of the Scottish Breast Screening programme found 1,761 women aged over 70 did not receive their final screening appointment – with these being delayed for up to three years as a result.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman apologised to all those affected as she accepted it would be a “worrying time” for the women involved.

The review of breast screening was carried out after a “significant incident” in England meant an estimated 450,000 women were not invited to final screenings between 2009 and 2018.

Women in Scotland are invited to come forward for the screening checks, which are carried out in a bid to detect breast cancer before symptoms are noticed, between the ages of 50 and 70.

However, delays in the programme meant the women affected were not invited for their final appointment at the age of 70.

Ms Freeman said: “I know this will be a worrying time for the women affected and I apologise fully for any distress caused.

“The women are being contacted as a priority and resources have been put in place to ensure they are screened promptly and offered any wider support needed.

“This additional screening will not delay other women attending their routine appointments.

“This issue came to light following a due diligence review of the breast screening system in Scotland which was undertaken after a significant incident with England’s breast screening programme earlier this year.

“I have been clear that we must learn from this and act to minimise the risk of similar incidents in future.”

Screening the women who missed appointments should not affect routine breast check-ups, according to ministers, with NHS screening centres making arrangements for them to be seen as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, additional NHS staff are being put in place in a bid to provide reassurance to those affected.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Rui Vieira / PA Wire.