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Breastscreen investigation updated statement

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 three-year period.

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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