Medical chiefs have confirmed that two women have died of breast cancer despite being given the all-clear after screening checks at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria.

The news emerged following the release of a report by Public Health England which revealed that one senior radiologist at Furness General Hospital was responsible for more than 10 substandard assessments before 2011.

A total of three women were told they were ‘low-risk’ following breast cancer screenings but were recalled after their results were checked by an assessor. All three women were subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer. Two of the women have since died of the disease.

An official request for an independent government inquiry into the treatment of cancer patients by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) has been submitted to the health secretary.

The hospital said that there is no proven link between the deaths of the two women and their late diagnosis, but Labour MP for Barrow and Furness, John Woodcock said more must be done to restore public confidence in the service following the incident.

Linda Millband, joint head of the clinical negligence at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “It is terrible to learn that two women have lost their lives following a serious misdiagnosis. Screening is there to help catch cancer early, and these women have been cruelly failed by substandard assessments.

“While the medical director at UHMBT claims that there is no evidence to suggest a delay in diagnosis contributed to the women’s’ deaths, there is no doubt that an earlier diagnosis and prompt treatment would have improved the two women’s prognoses, and potentially saved their lives.

“A thorough and robust public report is now required to provide answers not just for the families of the women who have died but to reassure future patients."