Hospital in cancer biopsies recall

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The Independent Online
DOZENS OF women have been recalled for hospital cancer checks after mistakes were found in tests dating back to 1990.

A review of thousands of cervical biopsies carried out at Doncaster Royal Infirmary in South Yorkshire has resulted in 47 patients being recalled. A further 65 women are being contacted because the hospital has no record of recent smear tests.

Dr Emyr Wyn Jones, Doncaster Health Trust's medical director, said the recall of the women was simply a precaution and stressed there was no need for women to panic.

"We have invited 47 women to see their consultant for further advice or treatment, but we do not anticipate any major problems will be found," he said.

The review of tests carried out between 1990 and 1993 was ordered after it was found the pathologist responsible for checking the biopsies had made the wrong diagnosis. He has since retired.

Dr Wyn Jones said: "We are deeply sorry and apologise for the concern news of the review may cause. We have made every effort to contact all the women who need to know, including those who have moved away from the Doncaster area."

Letters and an explanatory leaflet have been sent to the women and appointments made for them at special hospital clinics, starting today.

Dr Wyn Jones said women who did not receive the letter had no cause to worry because they were perfectly healthy.

There are now three consultant pathologists employed by the trust, none of whom was in post during the period concerned. "Patients can be confident that the pathology service in Doncaster is now first class," said Dr Wyn Jones.

He added that the review did not involve the cervical screening programme, which invites women for smear tests.

An information line has been set up on freephone 0500 585587. It will be open until 8pm tomorrow.

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