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CANCER

Breast cancer checks may have been inadequate for 300 women at Danish hospital

The number of women who were not sufficiently checked for breast cancer at a Danish hospital may total over 300.

Breast cancer checks may have been inadequate for 300 women at Danish hospital
File photo: Morten Stricker / Midtjyske Medier / Ritzau Scanpix

The examinations took place at Ringsted Hospital, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports.

Since February this year, the newspaper has reported on inadequate breast cancer screening at the hospital which took place between 2013 and 2017.

During that period, the hospital overlooked national guidelines by examining women solely by mammography, and without using physical or ultrasound methods, Jyllands-Posten reports.

Re-examinations have resulted in nine diagnoses of breast cancer in addition to that of the woman who was the whistleblower in the case.

Health authority Region Zealand has reviewed the medical records of thousands of women who were potentially subject to inadequate testing before later being diagnosed with the disease.

The issue is known to have affected at least 221 patients, but new examination of records has now shown that number may be as many as 304, the newspaper reports.
 
Meanwhile, the Danish Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed, DPSA) has threatened an injunction against the Region Zealand health authority. The safety agency has said it believes patient safety may have been put at risk.
 
The Danish Patient Safety Authority has conducted a review of conditions at both Ringsted Hospital and Region Zealand, concluding that legal healthcare guidelines may have been breached at the hospital. That has resulted in the threat of injunction against Region Zealand along with the radiology department at the hospital.

DPSA found that the hospital on a number of occasions decided not to disclose to patients that initial results may have indicated possible breast cancer when calling them in for further diagnostic examinations, in breach of Danish medical law.

The practice has now been changed after DPSA warned it would issue an injunction, Jyllands-Posten writes.

The independent Danish Patient Compensation Association (Patienterstatningen) is to determine whether the affected patients are entitled to reparations.

Vagn Bach, who was director at the Slagelse, Næstved and Ringsted hospitals, has left his position as a result of the controversy surrounding the issue.

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HEALTH

Danish government reaches agreement on ‘1,000 nurses’ plan

The government has reached agreement with health authorities on how to fulfil an election pledge to increase the number of nurses in the country’s public health system by 1,000.

Danish government reaches agreement on '1,000 nurses' plan
Photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix

The government agreed with Danish Regions, the interest organisation for the country’s five regional health authorities, a deal to ensure that 1,000 more nurses will arrive in 2021, as promised in December’s budget.

500 of the nurses are to be found this year.

“The agreement means a significant and specified effort in relation to nurses at hospitals, which we will follow up to ensure that we reach the target of 1,000 more nurses,” finance minister Nicolai Wammen said.

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The Danish Nurses' Organization (Dansk Sygeplejeråd) supports the deal, Ritzau reports.

The Social Democratic minority government reached in December an agreement with allied parties to provide 300 million kroner this year and 600 million kroner annually from next year to hire more nurses.

The purpose of that investment is to employ a total of 1,000 more nurses by next year, with the first 500 to be found in 2020.

Danish Regions will set in motion a number of measures aimed at achieving those objectives, including getting hospital staff to go from part-time to full-time, and all new positions being full-time.

In addition, better introductory courses will be introduced for new graduates, while practical elements of nursing degrees will be changed in an effort to reduce the drop-out rate of the programmes.

“On behalf of both patients and employees, I am pleased that this agreement ensures funding for more hands at hospitals,” Danish Regions chairperson Stephanie Lose said.

“This will improve treatment for patients and the working environment on the wards. However, recruitment is a major challenge as there is not a great deal of unemployment amongst nurses, which is also the case for other staff groups,” Lose added.

“I am therefore very pleased that we are in agreement with the professional organizations [unions, ed.] on a joint effort to get more people to go full-time, as this will also contribute to increasing workforce,” she added.

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