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IT Failure led to Human Deaths in UK

Lately, computer failure has resulted into a lot of human deaths in UK. Almost around 270 women have died of breast cancer because of computer error inside the UK’s health service. Around 450,000 women missed out attending breast screenings as “computer algorithm failed” and stopped letters from being sent to them, reminding them to have a check-up.

The exact human cost of this IT failure is yet to be calculated. Patricia Minchin was due to have a mammogram five years ago after she turned 70, but the notification failed to reach her. Two years later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Patricia is aggrieved deeply and holds the computer system truly responsible for all the painful treatments that she has to undergo today. She feels that these could have been easily avoided if she would have received the reminder at the right time. As per statistics, almost around 450,000 women aged between 68 and 71, between 2009 and the start of 2018, failed to attend their final breast screening. As a result about 135 to 270 women would have had their lives shortened due to this failure. The error remained undetected for eight years until Public Health England which oversaw the program and detected the problem after it began analysing data from the screenings. The National Health Service may have to face a massive compensation bill because of this. An independent review has been brought into action and the Minister has apologised for the failures in the system. It is hoped that women in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were not affected due to this failure.

By: Anuja Arora



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