Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services
In my statement on 11 May I updated Assembly Members of the problem issues affecting the English breast screening programme. Public Health Wales (PHW) had reviewed the Breast Test Wales (BTW) screening programme and found that the Welsh programme did not have the same failings.
BTW has taken the opportunity to put further failsafe measures in place to ensure women continue to be invited for screening according to our offer in Wales. PHW will also be reviewing the other cancer screening programmes in line with the review of BTW to ensure their systems are robust.
The UK Government issued a further written statement on 4 June which detailed within it the numbers of women resident in Wales who are affected by the problem issues in the English programme. Public Health England (PHE) wrote to 94 Welsh residents who previously lived in England and had their final screen missed when part of the English programme. A further 183 Welsh residents were contacted because they are registered with an English GP and had taken part in the English screening programme. PHW and PHE have been working closely together to ensure all affected women have been contacted and offered screening or invited to consider self referral.
The aim of breast screening is to identify breast cancer early. In Wales in 2016-17, a total of 1,185 cancers were detected in the 123,000 women who were screened for breast cancer.
I would like to reiterate that we have excellent screening programmes in Wales that undoubtedly saves lives. I urge all those eligible to take up the offer of screening when they are invited.