Two doctors were found guilty yesterday of Britain's biggest-ever breast cancer screening scandal... Blunders by John Brennan and Graham Urquhart led to 82 cancer victims being wrongly given the all-clear. Eleven of them died.
One expert witness told the General Medical Council there had been 'a unique catalogue of screening assessment failures the like of which I have never come across before or since.' Brennan was said to have let patients down through 'sheer laziness'.
Well, that would certainly be a firing offense and punishable by serious sanction, right?
The pair face being struck off next week if the GMC finds their errors amount to serious professional misconduct.
Oh. They can't be fired, even if they kill, say, eleven people through sheer laziness. Under England's delightful single-payer system, the civil servant doctors are virtually untouchable no matter how badly they mistreat patients.
...A massive programme of checks led to some women discovering as much as three years later that they had been wrongly given the all-clear... Most were in their late 50s or early 60s, but one who died was a 46-year-old mother. In many cases the doctors diagnosed lumps in the breast as benign tumours or cysts without adequately ruling out cancer.
In the ten most serious cases Brennan failed to recognise features of malignant cancer. He was also responsible for failing to take further action when tissue samples provided an 'equivocal result'.
Several witnesses described how he was regularly seen reading a newspaper with his feet on the desk during clinics.
This kind of breakdown comes as quite a shock since the DMV and the Post Office seem to be exemplars of government efficiency.