Thousands of women excluded from cervical screenings after 'mistake'

The Scottish Government has apologised for 'any anxiety caused' after thousands were incorrectly excluded from tests.

Thousands of women who missed smear tests in Scotland ‘by mistake’ to be invited for check-ups iStock

Thousands of women who have been excluded from undergoing cervical cancer tests following an error are to be invited for check-ups.

Around 13,000 women were removed from the national cervical screening programme after having hysterectomies and are now being offered appointments after it emerged they may have been excluded “by mistake”.

It comes after the Scottish Daily Mail reported that three women developed cervical cancer after being taken off the system.

Those who had died had undergone a hysterectomy, which usually involves the removal of the womb and the cervix.

Doctors advise women who have undergone this procedure to still attend cervical screenings.

The issue came to light in 2021, leading to a review of the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme where the medical records of around 200,000 women were checked.

A Scottish Government spokesperson apologised for “any anxiety caused” and confirmed that all those affected by the error have since been contacted.

A spokesperson said: “Everyone who has been affected will be contacted by the screening programme.

“We apologise for any anxiety caused by the audit being undertaken in the cervical screening programme.

“The risk to those who have been excluded is low and it is very much a precautionary step as the overwhelming majority of exclusions will be correct.

“In partnership with NHS Scotland, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has made its national helpline available to anyone with concerns.

“You can get more information, advice and support by contacting the free Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust helpline on 0808 802 8000.”

The women affected will be invited to attend screening appointments over the next 12 months while a wider audit of a further 150,000 records takes place.

Scottish Conservative MSP Tess White called the error “unacceptable” and said that cervical screening is of “vital importance”.

She said: “My heart goes out to the women who have suffered as a result of this blunder

“This is unacceptable, especially given the horrendous cancer wait times patients are facing under the SNP after Humza Yousaf’s disastrous stewardship of Scotland’s NHS.

“Cervical cancer screening is of vital importance and women everywhere will understandably be very concerned by the news that so many medical records are inconclusive.

“The SNP Government must make every effort to ensure that any women who may have been excluded from screening programmes are contacted as soon as possible and offered all the support they need.”

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