Pressure Mounting On Health Minister As CervicalCheck Scandal Deepens

Dr Grainne Flannelly

Dr Grainne Flannelly

The HSE established its Serious Incident Management Team last Friday, to perform a full review of 206 cases within the CervicalCheck Programme.

162 out of 208 women whose files were audited were not told they were part of a HSE lookback.

And of this cohort, 162 women were not told that CervicalCheck had carried out a review, nor were they informed of the outcome.

In most of those cases, the earlier tests were found to have been correctly conducted and analyzed - the cancer had developed later - but in the 208 identified cases, reviews of the earlier tests found clear signs of cancer that had been missed.

She added that cervical screening is absolutely essential for women in Ireland and encouraged people to continue going for smears.

"This is a very hard thing to do when you are literally dying, and you are being told that the case will take weeks in court and there will be no chance of a settlement", Mr. O'Carroll said.

Also speaking at the briefing, HSE director general Tony O'Brien, said that he first learned "of the entirety" of the Vicky Phelan cases when he read about it on the RTE website last week.

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Simon Harris, the health minister, said that the families of all those who died would be informed about the audit by today.

Ms Phelan, who was awarded €2.5 million in a settlement against a U.S. lab last week over a false negative smear test in 2011, has said she was very upset at the revelation that that there had been 17 deaths.

17 women have died but their cause of death is not yet known. "So I don't believe that", said Ms Phelan.

It has also been revealed that a helpline for women concerned about this matter has now received 6,000 calls.

Fianna Fail TD for Limerick City, Willie O'Dea, says the Government must not delay in the establishment of the independent inquiry into the Cervical Check controversy.

By the time she had another smear test in 2014 she had cervical cancer. All of the other women affected would also be informed by today and given an appointment with a clinician free of charge.

Ms Phelan said she was contacted by the Taoiseach's press adviser on Tuesday evening asking to arrange a private meeting."I said yes, I would meet him in principle, but I'm trying to concentrate on my treatment which I have to go to this week and said that I would get back to him", she said.

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