Full Scale Of Cervical Scandal Laid Bare

Posted May 02, 2018

A review conducted by the HSE confirmed 208 women should have received earlier intervention than they did but only 46 individuals were made aware of this.

Leo Varadkar said the Health Minister will outline what he knew in the Dáil later.

The HSE Serious Incident Management Team held a special briefing on the controversy on Monday afternoon and according to its chairperson, Patrick Lynch, the cause of these women's deaths is not known at this time.

Leo Varadkar says there is no proof that sending the smear tests overseas for examination meant they were any less accurate than if they were examined here.

The controversy came to light through the case of Vicky Phelan, a terminally ill mother of two, who last week settled a High Court action against the US-based laboratory subcontracted by CervicalCheck to assess the smear tests.

HSE director-general Tony O'Brien has apologised to all of the women involved and to their families for the "completely unacceptable" practices. Minister Harris must set out in detail what steps he is taking to ensure all affected women are informed immediately.

The Irish Cancer Society is also receiving a briefing about how Cervical Check will conduct repeat smear tests, or reviews, if women request them.

He said that it will look at what he called "appalling communication failures" and whether a different form of laboratory testing "might have reduced the number of false negatives".

It is a week today since Vicky Phelan first spoke publicly.

He said it would have full powers to compel witnesses and documents from the HSE and his department.

Mt Harris agreed with Fianna Fail TD, Stephen Donnelly that up to 1,500 women may be effected but the minister for Health said he did not have "specific figures". He said a liaison nurse will coordinate with the women.

She added: "This is a massive patient safety issue". We also plan to announce a new Clinical Director for the CervicalCheck programme within the coming days.

Minster Harris also said he was not ruling out a redress for those affected and said he is confident in the head of the HSE to do his job.

Speaking today on RTÉ radio's Seán O'Rourke show he rejected calls for him to stand down ahead of his planned retirement.

Last week an Irish woman was awarded 2.5m euros in a High Court settlement against a U.S. laboratory over a false negative smear test in 2011.