AN APPEAL has gone out from Hinchingbrooke and Addenbrooke's Hospitals for women to keep their appointments for breast screening - after it was revealed that on a average day about a quarter of the women booked in failed to turn up. A woman patient contacted The Hunts Post to say that she was "apoplectic with rage" to discover that on the day she had gone for her routine mammogram at the mobile unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, 15 women had failed to turn up. She said: "I know this is not a pleasant procedure but the thought that there could be so many thoughtless and selfish women in this area in one day defies description. "In these days of diminishing returns on our local services, we should be grasping at every opportunity offered to us. I think we should charge people for failed appointments." Barbara Knighton, the superintendent radiographer at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where the breast screenings are arranged for both hospitals, said the figure was typical. She said: "On an average day about 25 per cent of women with appointments do not attend. There are two mobile breast screening units, each of which has the capacity to scan about 60 women a day." She added: "Missed appointments cost the NHS money, but it is important to remember that they can also have a much more personal impact. It's very sad when we see a woman with late-stage breast cancer that could have been spotted if she had been for a routine check. Early diagnosis and treatment can save lives. That's why we run the screening programme.