Simon Harris advised to acknowledge Vicky Phelan's 'severe distress' in briefing note

02 May, 2018, 01:29 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • Dr Grainne Flannelly

17 women who were part of the review died.

Chair of the HSE Serious Incident Management Team, Patrick Lynch, today said that 17 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy had died.

In 175 of the 208 cases, a different treatment should have been given when the original smear was re-read by the review team.

Harris said he hoped the HSE or the State would not defend any other cases there may be similar to the Vicky Phelan case.

Leo Varadkar says there is no proof that sending the smear tests overseas for examination meant they were any less accurate than if they were examined here.

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

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The HSE has said in a statement that approximately 3,000 women In Ireland have been diagnosed with cervical cancer since 2008, and approximately half (1,482) of these cases were notified to CervicalCheck.

Ms Phelan also revealed that she received a phone call from the Taoiseach's press secretary.

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.

The CervicalCheck scandal will dominate proceedings when the Dáil resumes this afternoon.

Focus is now turning to the women affected by the screening controversy and what will happen next. He said a liaison nurse will coordinate with the women.

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".

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It says "that publicity around the case and/or settlement is likely".

"I acknowledge the very hard circumstances that Ms Phelan and her family are now in, and I would like to thank her for her bravery in bringing this to light". While insisting that cancer screening "does work", he acknowledged that there had been "appalling communication failures".

"We must do all we can to ensure that women continue to attend for smear testing".

The Labour Party's health spokesman Alan Kelly described the revelations as a "bombshell".

"What is the number of cases that have now not being audited".

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach says he will not fire HSE boss Tony O'Brien after the CervicalCheck scandal.

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