Saturday 17 November 2018

Women who had repeat smear tests following cervical cancer scandal face 20 week wait for results

The government announced it would fund repeat tests during the controversy over the CervicalCheck screening service. Stock Image
The government announced it would fund repeat tests during the controversy over the CervicalCheck screening service. Stock Image
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

WOMEN who have had repeat smear tests in the wake of the cervical cancer scandal face a wait of 20 week’s for the results because of a long backlog in the system.

The government announced it would fund repeat tests during the controversy over the CervicalCheck screening service.

Now the HSE has told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the waiting time for results is 20 weeks.

The issue was raised by Labour Party health spokesperson Alan Kelly.

Senior HSE official Damien McCallion said that there is a backlog of around 80,000 smear test waiting to be processed.

The PAC was told that there were three factors that contributed to the backlog.

Around 45,000 tests were taken “out of cycle”. This was said to be the primary factor.

Secondly more women are attending their appointments which was described as “positive”.

And thirdly women are re-engaging with the programme who had not previous engaged with it which was also described as “a good thing”.

However, it was said to be a challenge in terms of capacity for the screening service.

The PAC was also given an update on the number of legal claims relating to the CervicalCheck screening service.

The latest State Claims Agency (SCA) figures show that as of the end of October it has dealt with a total of 85 claims.

That’s up from 49 claims in July.

The figures show there are 73 active claims. There are six potential claims and one that has been closed. A further five cases have either seen indemnities received or been settled.

In a statement to the PAC, the SCA’s director Ciarán Breen said: “The SCA is committed to the expeditious resolution of cervical cancer misdiagnosis cases in a sensitive manner”.

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