Monday 23 September 2019

'We are committed to protecting women's health ... we are deeply sorry' - CervicalCheck issue apology

Simon Harris, TD, Minister for Health. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Simon Harris, TD, Minister for Health. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

Payu Tiwari

CervicalCheck has issued an apology claiming that they are "committed to protecting women’s health" and are "deeply sorry" for failings within the programme.

The national cervical screening programme issued adverts throughout national media outlets saying that their standards "fell far short" during the Cervical Check audit.

The CervicalCheck ad
The CervicalCheck ad

"We are committed to protecting women’s health and to always sharing information about a person’s care with them. Our standards fell far short of this during the Cervical Check audit, and for that we are deeply sorry," the apology read.

The apology went on to say that the HSE acknowledges the "breach of trust" and "urges women in Ireland to continue to take part in cervical screening, which is a life saving public health measure".

Earlier this week, Cervical check carried out an audit of women who had been diagnosed with cervical cancer over the last 10 years. The audit happened after their cancer was diagnosed and the purpose was to evaluate the quality of the screening programme.

Not all of these women were told about the audit or that, in some cases, the audit found that their screening test could have provided a different result and recommended earlier follow-up.

CervicalCheck say that they did not withhold information that delayed a diagnosis of cancer for any woman.

"The HSE is working with the National Cancer Registry and the Department of Health to identify any other women who had cervical cancer during this time, who had a CervicalCheck test, and should be included in the audit," the apology continues.

"The HSE supports open disclosure and believes that information should always be shared with patients relating to their care. On this occasion our actions fell far short of our values of care and compassion. This is not acceptable to us and we are committed to learning from this and rebuilding trust and confidence in the cervical screening programme.

"The Government has indicated its intention to establish a statutory investigation into these matters. We will comply fully with this so we can understand why this happened and how we can improve."

Despite the failings, CervicalCheck urged women to continue to avail of smear tests.

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