Tuesday 26 March 2019

HSE identify another woman affected by cervical cancer scandal

  • 209 women now affected by scandal
  • 13 women have still not been contacted
  • More than 10,000 calls made to helpline
  • Vicky Phelan says she wants action now
Vicky Phelan (inset) has shone a spotlight on the national cervical cancer screening programme
Vicky Phelan (inset) has shone a spotlight on the national cervical cancer screening programme
Independent.ie Newsdesk

THE team tasked with examining the cervical cancer scandal have identified another woman affected by the controversy, bringing the total number of women to 209.

The HSE Serious Incident Management Team has identified another woman who requires follow-up.

Work is still underway to contact 13 of the women or their families. To date 196 women have been contacted about their past smears which were incorrectly misinterpreted.

The controversy relates to 209 women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer, after earlier smears were read icorrectly. Their smears were subject to a clinical audit following their diagnosis but the majority of women affected were not informed of the review or the outcome.

Seventeen of those women have since died and only two of them were told of the errors before their death.

It also emerged this week that there are hundreds more women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer whose CervicalCheck smears were not reviewed. The HSE has said work is underway to reconcile those records. It is feared that, following this trawl, more women will be found to be among those whose smears were found to be incorrect but with whom this was not communicated.

More than 10,000 women have contacted a helpline established by CervicalCheck amid fears over their smear tests. More than 7,000 of those women requested a call back but to date only 797 calls have been returned. The HSE said calls "are being returned to women following a careful exercise of checking records, checking data quality and assigning calls to health professionals".

On Friday the IMO confirmed that an agreement had been reached with the Department of Health and the HSE to ensure arrangements are in place for repeat smear tests as requested.

Earlier today Vicky Phelan, the Limerick mother whose High Court challenge shed light on the issues with CervicalCheck, welcomed her inclusion in a scoping exercise into the screening programme.

She also questioned the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's response this week.

"'Simon Harris, from my perspective, he's been on the phone to me at least twice - he has probably been the best politician amongst them trying to deal with this," she told the Ray D'Arcy show on RTE Radio One.

"Varadkar has been a bit quite I thought, maybe he's leaving it up to the Minister for Health... I want action at this stage and it's been a bit slow."

More to follow...

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