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Monday 24th October 2016

Panorama - breast cancer care

11th April 2006

11042006_consulting_room.jpgOn Sunday 2nd April the Panorama programme 'The hospital that failed women' said that a year-long Panorama investigation revealed that Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust may have put around 150 women with breast cancer at risk by failing to give them the second stage of their treatment, radiotherapy.

As a result they faced a greater risk of their cancer coming back, the programme continued. The women affected were treated with breast conserving surgery for invasive cancer during the late 1980s and 1990s.

Doctors and managers at the hospital have known for over a decade that some patients in the 1980s and 1990s diagnosed with invasive breast cancer were receiving sub-optimal care, said Panorama.

Analysis carried out for Panorama suggests the problem continued for longer than the trust has been publicly prepared to admit. Three different doctors in the 1990s separately raised the alarm about the trust's failings in breast cancer care.

A number of eminent experts helped in the making of this film, said Panorama, including an epidemiologist who also advises the Department of Health and a lead statistician from the Shipman and Bristol babies inquiries.

Data for almost 30,000 women across a 22-year period was analysed for Panorama for the making of this film, but the results were not accepted by the Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust nor by two experts they contacted.

The Lancet in a press release disputed a number of points in the Panorama programme, to which the BBC replied on its Panorama website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/).

Following the programme's allegations, Bradford NHS Trust conducted its own audit of women treated between 1995 and 2000. A spokesman said the results would "provide considerable reassurance for local patients" and added the hospital was waiting for an independent review of the issue.

The hospital said it had acted quickly to solve the problem and its breast cancer care was now "highly commended". 

Panorama agreed with the Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust that the data now in the public domain should not be the "endpoint in investigating quality of care".

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