Over 2000 women called CervicalCheck helpline since Saturday

Dr Grainne Flannelly

The HSE Serious Incident Management Team (SIMT) and other members of the HSE today provided an update on work undertaken over the weekend in relation to women who received services from the CervicalCheck Programme since 2008.

'In addition I am appointing an International Clinical Expert Panel to provide the women concerned with an individual clinical review.

"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. "This will not happen again".

Ms Phelan said that the revelations by Dr Gibbons - who revealed he warned the then CEO of the National Cancer Screening Service Tony O'Brien that the outsourcing of cervical smear tests to the USA would lead to missed cases or misdiagnoses - rendered an apology by Mr O'Brien extended to her last week as "null and void". Ms Phelan is now battling terminal cancer, having received a negative smear test under the CervicalCheck programme in 2011. In 2014, an audit found this was incorrect but she was not informed of the outcome of that review until late 2017.

It also emerged that in 175 of the 208 cases, a different treatment should have been given to the women when the original screening results were reviewed. However, the cases of 442 women were reviewed and for 208 women earlier intervention was suggested. These include Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar, the Coombe hospital in Dublin, Cork University Hospital, Louth County Hospital in Dundalk, the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, Letterkenny General Hospital, University Hospital Limerick, the Rotunda in Dublin, Sligo University Hospital, Tallaght Hospital in Dublin, University Hospital Galway, University Hospital Waterford and Wexford General Hospital. "They are the critical questions that need to be answered".

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said "all commitments" to women affected by the cervical cancer tests scandal "will be met" amid growing speculation a statutory inquiry and compensation fund could be launched.

The screening is not a diagnostic test and is not 100 per cent accurate, he added.

Mr Harris has also said the State should not be defending court cases against women such as Vicky Phelan, who has terminal cancer.

Asked if he was confident such failures were confined to the CervicalCheck programme, he said he had no concerns regarding BreastCheck.

Ireland's programme will be benchmarked against global counterparts and any implications for other cancer screening programmes will also be identified.

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