CervicalCheck tests backlog falls but 26,000 women still waiting
More than 26,000 women are still in the CervicalCheck backlog waiting for smear test results - although the number has fallen from 81,346 in March.
New figures show that while progress has been made in reducing the backlog, following last year's controversy, it will take more time before it is cleared.
A spokeswoman for the HSE said as of August 27 the backlog was at 26,026.
"In our most recent turnaround times, 96pc of screening test results were [returned] in seven weeks, with the remaining balance, in some cases taking longer," she said.
"While declining in recent months, as we make progress in processing outstanding tests, the HSE is acutely aware of the impact of these waiting times on women."
MedLab Pathology in Dublin stopped processing new samples from the CervicalCheck programme and concentrated on clearing its outstanding tests from May. This was completed on August 11.
The HSE employed more Quest Diagnostics labs in the United States to make significant inroads into the backlog.
"We are doing our utmost to reduce waiting times further and return result processing times of our cervical screening programme to equilibrium," said the spokeswoman.