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by Louise Wilson
23 August 2021
Up to 174 more women wrongly excluded from cervical screening programme

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Up to 174 more women wrongly excluded from cervical screening programme

A further 174 women may have been wrongly excluded from the cervical screening programme, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

These women are those who had partial hysterectomies before 1997.

The number is on top of the 430 women who had not been invited to routine screenings following a hysterectomy after 1997, including a small number who went on the develop cervical cancer and one who had died.

Public Health Minister Maree Todd has apologised to the women, who have now been offered appointments for a screening if still eligible, or at a gynaecology clinic if they are 65 or older.

Todd said: “We recognise the anxiety anyone receiving a letter will almost certainly feel, and we are sorry for that. It is important to stress that the risk of developing cervical cancer is extremely low – fewer than one in 100 women will develop it in their lifetimes.”

An audit of all health boards found 484 women may have had subtotal hysterectomies before 1997.

A further review of their records found 39 individuals had been wrongly excluded and were still eligible for routine screening, while 46 individuals had been wrongly excluded but were no longer eligible for screening.

For an additional 89 women, their medical records did not establish whether they had been inappropriately excluded from the screening programme.

Six of the women no longer live in Scotland, but the government has said efforts will be made to contact them.

A hundred individuals have since died and a review is being carried out into these deaths to ascertain whether cervical cancer was the cause.

Cervical screening is offered to women between ages 25 and 64 every five years.

The majority of hysterectomies involve the removal of the cervix and therefore patients have no need to attend routine cervical screenings.

However, a subtotal hysterectomy may leave part or all of the cervix. Patients who receive this type of treatment should continue to be invited to screenings – but a review earlier this year found this was not happening in all cases.

204 individuals of the 484 were found to have been correctly excluded.

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