It could take more than $100 million to fix the problems that led to breast cancer testing mistakes at a Newfoundland health authority, according to the body's chief executive officer.
Eastern Health, the largest health authority in the province, was lambasted by Justice Margaret Cameron's three-volume report that recommended 60 changes to the authority to ensure nothing like the testing scandal happened again.
Cameron wrote her report, which was released to the public Tuesday, after hearing seven months of testimony about what went wrong between 1997 and 2005, when more than 400 breast cancer patients were given wrong results on tests to help determine if they should receive potentially life-saving antihormonal treatment. Those wrong results meant some patients were denied the treatment.
Eastern Health acting CEO Louise Jones said the authority is committed to restoring confidence in the province's health-care system, but it will come at a hefty price.
"I'd say you're more in the hundred million, versus tens of millions, but it is a significant investment that is required," Jones said.
System changes needed
When the scale of the testing mistakes came to light in 2005, Eastern Health struggled to contact patients, because there was no computer system to help track them down. Some patients found out they were affected through the media, long after the scandal broke.
Eastern Health vice-president Oscar Howell said the deficiencies of such a system can no longer be ignored.
"It wasn't a system to allow you to go in and find those patients," Howell said. "And we have to have that, or we will be back again."
Currently, Eastern Health is auditing the work of six pathologists.
Jones said the authority is working hard to rebuild public confidence.
"We're a very different organization than we were in 2005. Many of the things that happened in 2005 would not happen today."