Medicine

Audit reveals 12 women died in connection with smear test errors

Audit reveals 12 women died in connection with smear test errors

THE number of women who have died in the Republic after being caught up in a delayed cervical cancer diagnosis controversy remains unknown, according to health minister Simon Harris.

In his letter, Dr Hickey said clinical director of CervicalCheck Dr Gráinne Flannelly felt just three women on a list who developed cervical cancer should be told about previous incorrect smear tests.

More than 2,000 women have called the Cervical Check helpline that was set up over the weekend for women with concerns about their smear test results, after the case of Vicky Phelan who was incorrectly given the all-clear.

Last week it emerged that a total of 206 women developed the disease after having a misdiagnosed smear in the country's free screening programme, Cervical Check.

Minister for Health Simon Harris's serious incident management team, which the Minister sent in to CervicalCheck on Friday, is expected to report back their findings this evening (Monday).

In recent days, figures released by the HSE revealed that 206 women diagnosed with cervical cancer should have received earlier intervention than they did.




The Health Minister is considering a statutory inquiry, but the health watchdog HIQA has not yet been asked to investigate.

"We've really made great inroads into cancer care - we also must remember that cervical check has been a successful programe - it has identified we are carrying out 250,000 smears per annum, we have reduced the incidence of cervical cancer by 7%".

"The other thing is that it's important not to forget (the) HPV vaccination programme here".

Mrs Phelan, a mother-of-two from Limerick who is now terminally ill, was last week awarded €2.5 million in a High Court settlement against a United States laboratory.

Mr Donohoe would not be drawn on whether cabinet will also choose to end the need for women to have to go through divisive high court cases over what happened by deciding to offer a humanitarian alternative to the courts.

The helpline is available from 9am to 5pm on 1800 45 45 55.


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