Hospital concedes cancer case

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The three women who won their action against the Kent and Canterbury Hospital after contracting cervical cancer have been told the health authority will not appeal the decision to the House of Lords.

The three women who won their action against the Kent and Canterbury Hospital after contracting cervical cancer have been told the health authority will not appeal the decision to the House of Lords.

Helen Palmer, 37, Sandra Penney, 37, and Lesley Cannon, 40, all developed cervical cancer after smears screened at the hospital wrongly gave them the all-clear and have since had hysterectomies.

On Saturday, each of them received a personal letter from the chairman of the East Kent health authority confirming that there would be no further appeal, giving profound apologies and containing an ex-gratia payment unrelated to any compensation yet to be agreed.

The women's solicitor, Sarah Harman, said: "The women are as yet too shocked to take in the significance of the letter but hugely relieved that it represents, at last, recognition by the authority of its negligence."

Earlier this year the women won a High Court case against the hospital. But the authority, backed by the Department of Health, appealed on the grounds it was not reasonable to have expected screeners to spot adenocarcinoma, a rarer form of the cancer, which all the women suffered from.

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