Wednesday 24 July 2019

4,300 women still await callback from CervicalCheck

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

More than 4,300 women who rang the CervicalCheck helpline are still in the queue to be called back - two weeks after the scandal erupted.

The HSE continues to struggle to meet the demands of the 9,766 women who asked for a return call after inquiring about their smear results and other screening concerns.

As of yesterday 5,471 had been called back, but thousands more will face an anxious weekend.

The HSE is also yet to trace six of the women or their families who developed cancer and had an internal CervicalCheck review carried out on them confirming a smear reading mistake.

Most of the women, including 15 families of the 15 women who died, were not aware of the reviews.

One of the women is believed to be in Russia.

Meanwhile, a package of supports including medical cards and free access to new and advanced drugs are to be offered to the women with cervical cancer at the centre of the CervicalCheck scandal.

The package, agreed by Cabinet yesterday, will also remove prescription charges and provide financial support for childcare and travel costs.

Several of the women are seriously ill and the supports will also extend to the families who have lost a mother to the disease.

The measures were announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris, but it will be well into next week before the details of how the scheme will roll out are finalised.

Some of the women are desperate for any experimental therapies. Vicky Phelan, the mother of two from Limerick who has terminal cancer, had to crowd-fund to pay for a drug.

Irish Independent

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