Patricia Minchin, 75, was diagnosed with breast cancer after the NHS failed to offer her a scan – with the disease since spreading to her lymph nodes.

The nurse is one of 450,000 women denied life-saving scans because of an IT error lasting nine years.

Jeremy Hunt today admitted 270 women may have died as a result of the glitch, with women whose cancer could have been spotted early developing the disease.

Grandmother Patricia should have been invited for a mammogram in 2013 when she turned 70 but she wasn't and was diagnosed with breast cancer two years later, Telegraph reports.

She said: "I feel so disappointed. I don’t know if I’m going to survive. I would like an explanation from somebody why this happened, why I didn’t get a recall…why didn’t they pick up that I hadn’t had a mammogram? That I was one of those people?

"They shouldn’t have covered it up for so long. They obviously knew about it for some time and they shouldn’t have covered it up for so long.

"It was no surprise to me that it had happened. It was a surprise they kept it quiet. They must have known.

"I feel absolutely let down. I worked for the national health service all my life, I was a nurse.

"I would like the NHS to come and speak to me. It was their problem. I don’t understand how a computer can not function."

Mr Hunt blamed “administrative incompetence” and questioned why the error had only being picked up earlier this year.

But according to the Mirror, the error was discovered in 2016 but has only now been revealed to the public.

A Whitehall source told the newspaper said an upgrade turned up a “computer algorithm failure” dating back to 2009, which was flagged up by NHS chiefs from at least three trusts last year.

Mr Hunt has now launched an independent review to establish the exact causes.

He said: "The fact is for many years oversight of our screening programme has not been good enough.

“We think it was a single IT mistake that was made right at the start of the programme…but nonetheless there must have been clues that could have been picked up.”

Among those who died as a result of the glitch was Trixie Gough, 75, who passed away in 2015 after a lump was found and the disease had already spread through her body.

Her daughter Belinda, 57, told The Sun: “We will never know for sure whether mum could have been saved.

“But my mum should have had that test. A year later they found a lump and that went on to stage three cancer.

“I am shocked to hear about the mistakes because we relied on all these things that are supposed to be in place. The hospital that treated mum was absolutely brilliant.

“I’m angry, we won’t know if it would have lengthened her life of saved or life – but we will always wonder now.

“These kind of mistakes seem to keep on happening. You want to have as much time as possible with your family.

“If mistakes are made someone should be held accountable for them."


WOMEN who are affected will receive a letter informing them this month, Mr Hunt said.

Those who are worried can, in the meantime, call a helpline set up by the NHS to offer advice – on 0800 169 2692.

Mr Hunt said women affected will advised of their next steps according to their age now.

Those under 72 will be invited for a catch up mammogram, which will be scheduled in the next six months.

PHE said today they expect all rescreens to be completed by October this year.

Those women over the age of 72 will be advised of whether another mammogram will be beneficial to them.

For older women, treating breast cancer can prove more arduous than the disease itself, and so women over 72 will be offered support and expert advice.

Mr Hunt stressed it is a woman's individual choice, and anyone who wants another screening will be offered one.

Screening is overseen and “quality assured” by Public Health England.

Senior health sources asked why the agency had failed to spot that thousands of letters were not being sent out each year.

And questioned why they had not acted immediately after the gaffe was identified in January.
Instead, they flagged it as a “limited” risk.

Of the 450,000 women denied breast cancer screening, around 140,000 are now since dead.

Mr Hunt admitted some had "their lives shortened as a result" of the IT blunder – and promised the NHS would be paying compensation to anyone harmed.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, called it a “devastating error”.

She said: “We are extremely concerned to hear that so many women have been let down by such a colossal systematic failure.

“That hundreds of thousands of women have not received the screening invitations they’ve been relying upon, at a time when they may be most at risk of breast cancer, is totally unacceptable.

“Screening prevents deaths from breast cancer. It is beyond belief that this major mistake has been sustained for almost a decade.”

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