Ministry of Health's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Don MackieWednesday 21 March 2012, 9:36AM
The Ministry of Health is working with the Southern District
Health Board on an issue raised within the breast screening
service, BreastScreen HealthCare (BSHC).
An internal audit has identified that there may have been a delay
in the diagnosis of breast cancer for as many as 28 women over a
There are several facets to this investigation, including
following up with the affected women, how the whole screening
programme is performing in Southern DHB, and addressing any
specific issues raised in audits.
Systems have been set up to allow us to send mammograms from
Southern DHB for routine second readings or third readings as
required, at other breast screening providers.
The free phone (0800 214 579) service has taken around 30 calls.
We are dealing deal with each query on a case by case basis.
BreastScreen HealthCare screens around 16,000 women a year.
The Ministry's advice remains that the core breast screening
programme is sound and that women's best protection against breast
cancer is regular mammograms through the programme.
Nationally, the programme screens 318,490 women every two years
and detects 1900 cancers during that time.
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