Tuesday 18 September 2018

CervicalCheck did not know Irish women's tests were sent for screening to Las Vegas

CervicalCheck scandal victim Vicky Phelan. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
CervicalCheck scandal victim Vicky Phelan. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Eilish O’Regan

A lab used by CervicalCheck in Texas up to 2013 out-sourced tests to Las Vegas, Hawaii and Florida without telling the HSE, the Scally report revealed today.

The CPL lab in Austin is now to be the focus of a further investigation to see if safety was put at risk.

The revelations emerged in the report of Dr Gabriel Scally who spent months investigating the CervicalCheck scandal.

He found a system beset with failings and found nobody was in charge at CervicalCheck.

He concluded the system was “doomed to fail.”

The scandal emerged earlier this year after it was revealed 221 women who developed cervical cancer had their test results audited by CervicalCheck but the majority were never told.

The audits found their test results were wrong.

Dr Scally is scathing about the failure to disclose the results to women for several years.

The audits only came to light after Vicky Phelan, the Limerick mother-of-two who is fighting advanced cancer took a High Court case.

In recent months some women and bereaved families who were given the reports by doctors were poorly treated.

When one woman asked how she would find out more information she was told “watch the news.”

Dr Scally’s 170 page report contains fifty recommendations for an overhaul of the screening programme.

He said the existing laboratories used by CervicalCheck all met quality assurance standards and should continue to be used.

Health Minister Simon Harris said the catalogue of failings in the Scally CervicalCheck report amounted to a breach of trust.

Failure to disclose audits of test results after they developed cancer caused huge distress and was due to various reasons including confusion on the part of doctors .

But he insisted the failings did not put women having tests at risk of harm.

The current labs meet quality assurance standards and women can trust them.

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