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Hundreds of women in breast cancer recall

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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Over 250 women are being called back to The Royal Bournemouth Hospital in Dorset for cancer checks after concerns that a junior doctor failed to follow correct procedures.

Earlier this month the hospital sent letters to 272 patients who had undergone breast screening over an 18 month period since January 2011. They have been asked to attend for reassessments after concerns that the junior doctor failed to perform the screening procedures correctly. 

The doctor, who has not been named, is now being investigated by the General Medical Council after several consultants at the breast clinic reported being unhappy with the way he performed initial assessments of some of his patients up to July 2012.

The Royal College of Surgeons has also been requested by the Hospital to assist in a review.

Although The Royal Bournemouth has emphasised that the further checks are 'precautionary', hospital bosses have confirmed that the doctor is no longer working there.

A spokesperson for the Hospital has issued an apology for any distress the recall may have caused to the women in question, and stated that although there is no evidence of any harm to the junior doctor's patients, some will be seen again by a consultant.

Additional clinics are being arranged by the Hospital so that the women affected can attend appointments as soon as possible and a telephone support line has been set up for worried patients.

The statistics currently show that one in eight women will develop breast cancer, with 80% of breast cancers occurring in women over the age of 50. The NHS Breast Screening Programme invites women aged between 50 and 70 to be checked every three years, and is estimated to save 1,400 lives a year in England.

The charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer maintains that early detection of the disease still leads to the best chance of a successful outcome following a breast cancer diagnosis.

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