Thursday 22 August 2019

Latest CervicalCheck scandal was uncovered by one woman's struggle

 

Professor Brian MacCraith during the publication of the MacCraith Report at The Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. The independent rapid review by Professor Brian MacCraith examines the series of events within the Cervical Check Programme that occurred following reported IT issues in Quest Diagnostics relating to the HPV test results for a number of women. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Professor Brian MacCraith during the publication of the MacCraith Report at The Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. The independent rapid review by Professor Brian MacCraith examines the series of events within the Cervical Check Programme that occurred following reported IT issues in Quest Diagnostics relating to the HPV test results for a number of women. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

One woman's persistence has been credited with bringing to light an IT glitch that led to thousands of women not receiving their cervical screening results.

A series of emails written by the woman, identified only as Sharon, to the Department of Health was included in yesterday's publication of the MacCraith Report.

Sharon did not receive her letter revealing her smear test results for nine months and was only finally informed by a CervicalCheck doctor in June about an IT glitch.

Since being diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells 10 years ago, Sharon usually had to wait just six weeks for her results following her annual screening.

After making several enquiries regarding her screen in December, Sharon received an email from Health Minister Simon Harris's private secretary on April 30 apologising for any distress caused.

The official said the reduction of the backlog in smear tests was a "priority" for the minister.

Then, on June 5, Sharon was told by the department that the waiting time for her results was 33 weeks.

She then made contact with CervicalCheck, saying she felt the person she had spoken to previously "didn't care". On June 25, the National Screening Service wrote saying Sharon's test had been processed, but due to an "IT issue in the laboratory", she was not issued with a result letter from CervicalCheck.

The letter went onto say they were addressing this issue with the Quest Diagnostics laboratory and would write to all the women affected.

Finally, on June 26, a CervicalCheck doctor called Sharon with her results and told her about the glitch.

Professor Brian MacCraith yesterday said it was through Sharon's "frustration and persistence" that the HSE was made aware of this latest scandal.

Irish Independent

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