Friday 19 July 2019

'Glitch' in US lab means 800 women here got no results of cervical scan

'The women's tests were screened for the HPV virus at the Quest laboratory in Chantilly, Virginia, in the US.' Stock photo: David Davies/PA
'The women's tests were screened for the HPV virus at the Quest laboratory in Chantilly, Virginia, in the US.' Stock photo: David Davies/PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Around 800 women who underwent cervical screening with CervicalCheck were not issued with letters containing their result due to problems with the computer system in a US laboratory, the HSE has confirmed.

The women's tests were screened for the HPV virus at the Quest laboratory in Chantilly, Virginia, in the US.

Their GPs would have been sent their results - although it appears this has not happened in all cases.

The result is supposed to be issued electronically to the GP, while the woman receives a letter.

The computer "glitch" meant letters to the women whose tests were sent to the laboratory between last October to June were not issued.

It only came to light after one woman pursued the delay with CervicalCheck, RTÉ reported.

The HSE said yesterday: "This is a limited incident whereby some result letters to women and their GPs have not issued as a result of an IT process issue.

"An IT update is taking place and results are now being issued manually to GPs until that is completed."

A spokesman said that when a woman's CervicalCheck screening test is processed by a laboratory, results of the test are transferred to the programme's cervical screening register.

"Once this happens, the woman's GP receives electronic notification of the results and the woman receives a letter advising that her result is available and information on the next recommended step," he said.

He added that one quality assured Quest Diagnostics laboratory in Chantilly, which is part of the additional capacity secured by CervicalCheck, required IT updates to ensure results letters issue to women and reports of results issue to women's GPs.

"As a result of slower than expected implementation of this update, approximately 800 results letters were not issued to women," said the spokesman.

"The existence of an IT issue was identified following engagement with the Department of Health in relation to representations from a woman using our services."

Frances McNamara of the HSE said: "On July 1, CervicalCheck wrote to these women identified and advised them to contact their GP to receive their results.

"CervicalCheck sincerely apologises for this delay, which we understand may have caused considerable anxiety for some women."

Some GPs and practice nurses have also reported in recent days that they have not received result reports.

"CervicalCheck has requested Quest to issue these reports manually which Quest has advised will happen today, July 11."

Irish Independent

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