HSE confirms 17 women have died as a result of CervicalCheck controversy

Vicky Phelan

Vicky Phelan

Every woman who had a smear test and wants a recheck for reassurance can have it arranged by her GP and paid for by CervicalCheck.

The Health Minister revealed on Monday, after the HSE confirmed that 17 women affected by the botched test results had died, that "all necessary powers" will examine the CervicalCheck screening programme.

Mr Lynch said that a different clinical treatment should have been provided to 175 of the 208 women when their original smear tests were re-read by the review team.

Under the auspices of this statutory investigation an International Peer Review Group will examine the cervical screening programme in Ireland against international best practice and standards.

Mr. O'Carroll, the lawyer for Ms. Phelan, said that the Health Service Executive, the Irish government body that oversees the screening program, and CPL, which were joint defendants in her case, had pursued a prolonged and aggressive defense, demanding that she prove she had suffered actual loss from the delayed diagnosis, and making her spend three days in court before they settled. Minister Harris must set out in detail what steps he is taking to ensure all affected women are informed immediately.

'A liaison nurse specialist will co-ordinate the work of the Expert Panel and will identify and ensure the provision of any required supports for the women involved.

Speaking earlier today Ms Phelan said the news that 17 of the affected women have died - with only two of them being made aware of the issues with their smear tests - had left her very upset.

'I could be another one of those women.

The HSE has claimed its audit of 206 individual results is nearing completion and will engage today with all women still awaiting contact.

"She said today that she never could have 'imagined the magnitude" of the situation. By God am I going to take these guys on, I think it's disgraceful.

The number is 1800 45 45 55.

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