We comment on a report published by the Health Service Ombudsman which highlights serious failings by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Friday 24 October 2014      General
Comment on hospitals failure to diagnose breast cancer

This week a report published by the Health Service Ombudsman has highlight serious failings by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust to carry out the necessary tests to rule out breast cancer in a 41-year-old mother until it was too late and her condition had become terminal. The investigation found that the Trust missed vital opportunities to diagnose the cancer and begin treatment. 

The breast cancer specialist failed to make her aware of the importance of attending the follow-up appointment. The Trust also failed to explain the potentially serious cause of her condition and inappropriately discharged her without making her, or her GP, aware of the seriousness of her situation.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Campaign, said:

“This verdict is a stark reminder of the importance of doctors investigating patient concerns quickly, to avoid mistakes that can have a devastating impact. Diagnosing breast cancer quickly and accurately is vital. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chances of survival. There is no cure for women with secondary breast cancer and we must do so much more for the 12,000 women who die from breast cancer every year in the UK.

“We are campaigning to stop the Cancer Peer Review Programme being cut. We feel the findings in this report emphasise the vital importance of continuing to monitor the quality and safety of breast cancer services, and we call on the Health Service to continue this vital programme.”

More information

Read the full report on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website