In 2015, NHS England outsourced its back-office services to Capita, leading to nearly 90 women being wrongly informed they were no longer part of the cervical screening programme.

Despite saving the NHS a reported £60m, the services have been described as below acceptable standards with NHS England acknowledging the apparent difficulties.

The outsourcing agreement between NHS England and Capita arose in an attempt to modernise services and reduce costs. Capita have since been responsible for running back-office functions for pharmacists, dentists and GP’s such as moving patient records, processing patient registrations and sending out patient test results.

It’s most worrying failure was an omission to update the performers list which details which GP’s, dentists and opticians, practicing within the NHS are suitably qualified. This failure may have compromised patient safety in circumstances where practitioners should have been removed.

In the circumstance, Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee said the attempt to modernise the service whilst trying to cut costs was "over-ambitious, disruptive for thousands of doctors, dentists, opticians and pharmacists and potentially put patients at risk of serious harm".

Earlier this month, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt reported that nearly 270 women in England may have died due to not receiving invitations to a final routine breast cancer screening, blaming the error on IT problems.

Our specialist Clinical Negligence team has years of experience in dealing with cases arising from cervical screening failures. Karen Reynolds, Partner of our Derby office is an expert in this field and if you think that you, or a loved one, may have been affected by an NHS routine failure please contact Karen Reynolds on 0845 272 5677 or via karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk