Haringey women miss out on breast cancer screening
Charlotte Newton HUNDREDS of women from Crouch End and Muswell Hill are still not receiving vital breast cancer screening almost two years after the service was suspended. Breast cancer is the biggest killer in women and the Government stipulates that 50
HUNDREDS of women from Crouch End and Muswell Hill are still not receiving vital breast cancer screening almost two years after the service was suspended.
Breast cancer is the biggest killer in women and the Government stipulates that 50 to 70-years-olds, who account for 80 per cent of cases, should be tested every three years.
But Haringey Teaching Primary Care Trust admitted this week that it has failed to catch up with a backlog of appointments ever since mammograms - a breast x-ray - were suspended at one screening centre between December 2006 and May 2007.
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The revelations came to light in a report by the Healthcare Commission.
A spokeswoman for Haringey Teaching Primary Care Trust said: "Following concerns with the screening programme we suspended the service temporarily in the past in order to make sure that the quality of the screening service is world-class standard."
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She said that although the breast screening programme has now been re-established the TPCT failed to meet the Government's targets this year. And the Broadway has learnt that some women have even been directed by their GP to pay for private care.
Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, told the Broadway that she would contact the Secretary of Health Alan Johnson immediately to highlight the problem.
"It's a terrible indictment of Haringey TPCT and the mess that it is in," she said, "that women are being told to have a private breast screening. This is a frontline service which, in some cases, can mean a matter of life or death."
Susan Bennett, of Alexandra Park Road, Muswell Hill, was advised by her GP to have a private mammogram - which cost her £135 - because the TPCT had fallen behind schedule.
Ms Bennett, 65, said: "I brought having a mammogram up with my GP and she said that it was well overdue and that I should go private because Haringey was running very late.
"I've paid my National Insurance since I was 20 so I do wonder why I had to pay again to have a mammogram."
Patricia Koumi, 56, is just one who has not had a mammogram. She had her first in October 2004 when she was 52, but her second breast screening, scheduled for January 2007, was cancelled by the North London Screening Service and she has not been offered another appointment.
Mrs Koumi, who works as a librarian and lives in Fortis Green, said: "There is supposed to be a three-year programme of breast screening.
"But my appointment was cancelled and I haven't been offered one since even though I made enquiries during the summer. There seems to be problem with the service."
Hilary Jackson, Cancer Research UK's policy manager said: "The national standards for the breast cancer screening are vitally important as they were put in place to ensure the programme operates effectively.