Radiologist’s errors led to breast cancer mis-diagnosis - official report

A REPORT released on Wednesday has condemned the extent of the errors made by a former leading East Lancashire radiologist.

Sunday, 13th February 2011, 11:19 am

The independent report has found 61 women, including two from Barnoldswick, were incorrectly given the all-clear from breast cancer by Dr Glenn Kelly, a former radiologist at Accrington Victoria Hospital.

According to the report, carried out by former chief executive of Wirral NHS Trust Frank Burns, 92% of Dr Kelly’s patients had not been assessed in line with national guidelines and he hadn’t got the necessary skills to use a technique called ultrasound guided core biopsies.

An initial review of 276 patients between August, 2006, and December, 2008, resulted in 86 patients being re-tested for breast cancer.

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During this period, 20 cases of cancer had been missed and a further 41 cases were missed between 2000 and 2006.

Mr Burns’s report also included a number of recommendations for improvements in breast screening services and governance processes within East Lancashire Hospitals.

Rineke Schram, medical director of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The report confirms the failings which led to women receiving delayed cancer diagnoses all related to a single consultant radiologist within the breast screening unit. All other breast screening radiologists working at East Lancashire Hospitals perform to a high standard.

“The radiologist in question has not carried out any clinical work since April, 2009.

“An internal investigation is continuing following standard employment guidelines. The consultant is currently excluded from duty.

“The trust apologises again to all women affected by this incident, and recognises the added distress it has caused to women already suffering the trauma of breast cancer.

“Women in East Lancashire can be confident in the service offered by the East Lancashire Breast Screening Programme, and I encourage them to continue to attend for breast screening.

“The service in East Lancashire performs very well, exceeding Government targets for cancer detection. Processes for breast screening assessment have been further strengthened both locally and nationally as a result of the internal review carried out in 2009.”