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Cervical screening letter delivery failure bigger than first thought

Capita is writing to GP practices after it found that the problems that saw tens of thousands of woman failing to receive correspondence about cervical cancer screening is worse than originally believed.

Following a review of the issue, the company said that the problems stretch back to 2017 - affecting 3,500 more women than was originally thought.

The error – which Capita first discovered in August, but failed to tell NHS England about until October – saw 47,000 women failing to receive correspondence about appointment invitations or reminders, but also includes thousands of results letters.

Capita said that its subsequent review into the issue found that there were 3,500 incidents in 2017, as well as those in 2018.

It found that the correct process for uploading, organising and checking datafiles was not properly followed. It confirmed that the senior executive responsible for the error, who also failed to inform NHS England, has since left the company.

The statement said: ‘Following the announcement last month about a delay in issuing cervical screening correspondence in 2018, Primary Care Support England (PCSE) has conducted a thorough review of correspondence prior to 2018.

‘All women affected, and their GPs, are being written to today (Dec 11) advising them on what they need to do. Only a small proportion were abnormal result letters, and the women affected all received a referral.

‘Capita apologises to the women affected by this administrative error.’