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NHS breast cancer failure

 Published on: 20th October 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

A mother with terminal breast cancer was failed by the West Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust (WHHT) after it was investigated by The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. In May 2010, Mrs G was referred to WHHT breast clinic and they failed to undertake appropriate tests to rule out cancer. When she returned in December 2011 it was discovered she had advanced inoperable breast cancer and secondary cancer of the liver, brain and bone. Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said: “A 41-year-old mother has had her life cut short because of the serious failings by WHHT to carry out the necessary tests to rule out breast cancer. They missed vital opportunities to diagnose the cancer and begin treatment. “This is a very sad example of what can go wrong when doctors and Trusts don’t carry out the necessary and proper diagnoses and tests, and the terrible impact it can have on someone’s life.” Mrs G has battled cancer for a-year-and-a-half and lives with the uncertainty of how much time she has left with her son, who she brings up alone. Watford MP, Richard Harrington told My News that he was shocked after hearing about the story and his first thoughts were with the family. “My second thought was to make sure systems are put in place under the new management to ensure this won’t happen again.” West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust responded to the investigation, Samantha Jones, Chief Executive said: “We accept in full all of The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s recommendations and they have acknowledged that we have made the necessary changes to help prevent this type of incident, which dates back to 2010, from happening again. This includes providing enhanced training for doctors to recognise, diagnose and test for cancer. “We have also undertaken a major review of all of our cancer services which includes the implementation of a new information system to track each patient’s care; weekly meetings to proactively review the overall management of all referrals and appointments and the retraining and better supervision of staff. “In addition, we have changed the way we inform patients about the importance of attending follow-up appointments and how we ensure patients, as well as their GPs, are aware of the seriousness of their condition.” The trust was asked to pay £70,000 to Mrs G for the suffering, additional medical treatment and distress, which they confirmed had been paid.

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