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Panorama. The Hospital That Failed Women

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 06 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:858
  1. Nigel Bundred, professor of surgical oncology (
  1. South Manchester University Hospital

    This episode of the BBC's flagship documentary Panorama—the latest of several recent episodes to have focused on NHS related issues—looked at whether some women treated for breast cancer at Bradford NHS Trust had missed out on a critical part of their treatment. The basis for the programme was a statistical analysis of data from the Northern and Yorkshire Cancer Registry, which includes Bradford, carried out by Michel Coleman, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and deputy chief medical statistician at the Office for National Statistics from 1995 to 2004.

    Panorama's claims related to radiotherapy, widely recognised to be an integral part of treatment after breast conserving surgery. Since 1995 Department of Health guidelines have been that all women who undergo breast conserving surgery should also receive radiotherapy. Professor Coleman, who analysed data on almost 30 000 women with breast cancer who had been treated in Yorkshire hospitals between 1982 and 2003, said that there was “a strikingly different pattern of breast conserving surgery and radiotherapy” for women treated by one consultant in Bradford “than all other experienced surgeons.”

    Radiotherapy was given after breast conserving surgery in Bradford through the 1990s only in between …

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