Cervical screening row: 17 women have died in Republic

Randy Kelley
May 2, 2018

Health watchdog HIQA is now being asked to carry out a root and branch review of the CervicalCheck programme.

"These are not new cases of cancer".

"I'm very upset to be honest, to think that there is 17 women, it was bad enough that I knew there was three, I'm quite upset today", Phelan said. So this memo, either people didn't know the extent of it, and I find that hard to believe or they just thought this was going to go away, to be honest, and that I wasn't going to preoceed.

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.

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.

Following news released at a HSE briefing on Monday that confirmed 162 of the women who'd been affected had not yet been told their fate, the Irish Cancer Society then shared the news that they'd requested an urgent meeting with the Minister for Health Simon Harris to seek clarity on a number of items surrounding the scandal.

The helpline will stay open until 6 this evening and the HSE says call-backs are underway.

An unpublished audit of cervical checks, discovered in 2014, found that more than 200 women with cervical cancer who had undergone smear tests should have got treatment earlier. However, the cases of 442 women were reviewed and for 208 women earlier intervention was suggested.

Tonight's bombshell revelations could mean that another 1, 500 tests will need to be reviewed.

Seventeen women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy have died, the HSE has confirmed.

In relation to the 208 women, Harris said it was reported to him yesterday that 162 of these women "had not been informed of the outcome of the audit process".

The HSE has said it will provide further information and updates over the coming days on cervicalcheck.ie and anyone with concerns may contact the CervicalCheck information phone line on 1800 45 45 55.

"But in all the debate that is ongoing it is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that the cancer screening programme has saved the lives of many, many women".

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