Doncaster surgery sends cancer text instead of festive message – BBC

A GP surgery accidentally told patients they had aggressive lung cancer instead of wishing them a merry Christmas.
Askern Medical Practice sent the text message to people registered with the surgery in Doncaster on 23 December.
Sarah Hargreaves, who was waiting for medical test results, said she "broke down" when she received the text, only to be later told it was sent in error.
The group which runs the surgery said nobody was available for comment. The centre has almost 8,000 patients.
The first text told recipients they had "aggressive lung cancer with metastases", a type of secondary malignant growth.
It directed patients to fill out a DS1500 form, which allows people with terminal diseases to claim certain benefits.
However, about an hour later people received a second text telling them it was an error and it was meant to wish them a merry Christmas instead.
Ms Hargreaves said after she received the original text while she was out shopping, she "felt sick to my teeth and broke down".
She added: "I had just had a mole removed and was awaiting a result from a biopsy and I had been to hospital as my smear test came back abnormal, so yes, I was very worried."
Despite repeated calls to the surgery, she said she struggled to get through to speak to someone.
Carl Chegwin, another of the surgery's users who, along with his mother, received the text, said he was left upset by the out-of-the-blue message which "was enough to break someone".
"The first thing I thought was, 'is this some kind of sick joke?'" Mr Chegwin said.
"It completely took me by surprise… It's not often I go to the doctors, then out of the blue, it's cancer. I'm sat there scratching my head thinking, 'I do smoke, do they know something I don't?'"
"They've just told people a few days before Christmas they've got terminal lung cancer. They can't do that."
Meanwhile, a woman, who asked not to be named, said she was left feeling "very worried" about the text, with family members recently having tests about ongoing chest issues.
"I rang the doctors but on hold as usual. So, I walked round as I live around the corner and there were, I'd say, six people all there panicking as they had got the same text."
The second text apologised for the error, with some patients getting repeat messages from the surgery.
"What if that message was meant for someone, and then they are told it's a Christmas message, then again told, 'oh no, that was actually meant for you'?" Mr Chegwin asked.
"If it's one of their admins that's sent out a mass text, I wouldn't be trusting them to empty the bins."
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