52 more positive for HPV in test scandal

52 more positive for HPV in test scandal

By Elaine Loughlin and Jess Casey

More than 50 women caught up in the latest CervicalCheck controversy have tested positive for the HPV virus.

Health Minister Simon Harris has now moved to reassure the women impacted by the latest scandal that the risk to their health is “very low”.

Of the 800 women whose test results were kept from them as a result of an IT glitch in the Quest Diagnostics US lab, 52 have now come back as positive.

Defending his handling of the latest controversy, Mr Harris said he had met with the HSE’s chief clinical officer and he was assured that there is a “very low clinical risk”.

“I think it’s very important that we provide reassurance to women in relation to an issue that clinicians are describing to me as having a very low clinical risk,” said Mr Harris.

“This is cause of great frustration, great annoying and great stress to women, of that there is no doubt, this should not have happened, this IT glitch should not have happened.”

Mr Harris added that he would have preferred to have been informed of the issue earlier and regretted that the patient representatives who sit on the CervicalCheck steering committee were not informed sooner.

“What’s really important now is that all of the women get their results, get to have a conversation with their GP,” he said.

I understand that the overwhelming majority of GPs have now received the results and that the rest will this week.

However, patient advocates Lorraine Walsh and Stephen Teap, who were only told of the latest scandal less than an hour before it broke in the media, believe trust has been broken again.

They will be questioning the HSE and CervicalCheck when the steering committee meet tomorrow.

“I won’t lie, for both Lorraine and I, this really knocked the wind out of us last week,” Mr Teap said.

“We found it extremely disrespectful. We put so much time and effort into building up relationships with the HSE on the various steering committees to basically try and correct what went wrong in the past and work on restoring trust.

“The biggest issue that Lorraine and I have is really around the timelines of everything," he told The Ray D'Arcy Show.

Mr Teap said neither he nor Ms Walsh were advised of the latest controversy at the last steering committee on June 26.

“Everyone talks about how do we change the culture and the best way I see us doing that is by diluting the system with patient representatives and medical professionals working together but we don’t seem to have progressed too far down the road,” said Mr Teap.

What we have seen in the last week is how everything reverts back to the old way, how everything inverts in-house and the patient representatives are kept out of it.

Brian MacCraith has been tasked with conducting a rapid review of the IT glitch and finding out who knew what and when. This will be completed by August 2.

Last night, the HSE said it learned of the failure to pass on test results last week.

The tests were on samples which were retested because their original mRNA HPV test was carried out outside the manufacturer’s recommended timeframe.

These women had previously been found to have had low-grade cytological changes from their smear test. Since 2015, it has been the practice of CervicalCheck to test women with low grade abnormalities for the HPV virus.

The HSE added that there were “a small number of women” whose HPV status changed as a result of the retest using the more sensitive test and the GPs of all of these 52 women, whose status had changed, received their test results in February of this year.

“CervicalCheck records show that over half of these women have been referred on for further investigation, and we are currently confirming directly with GPs that all the women’s results have been discussed in full with her in each case,” the HSE said

More on this topic

Emma Mhic Mhathúna to be remembered one year on from her passingEmma Mhic Mhathúna to be remembered one year on from her passing

Waiting times for smear test results reduced to six weeksWaiting times for smear test results reduced to six weeks

 Smear test results waiting time down to 7 weeks Smear test results waiting time down to 7 weeks

Stephen Teap believes CervicalCheck recommendations will be implemented - eventuallyStephen Teap believes CervicalCheck recommendations will be implemented - eventually


More in this Section

Man gets partially suspended sentence for twice attacking ex-partner in front of their son at children's hospitalMan gets partially suspended sentence for twice attacking ex-partner in front of their son at children's hospital

'I am free of his disgusting and sick secret,' says victim after his older brother is jailed for decade of sexual abuse and rape'I am free of his disgusting and sick secret,' says victim after his older brother is jailed for decade of sexual abuse and rape

Varadkar: New Brexit deal is final offer from EUVaradkar: New Brexit deal is final offer from EU

'If I wasn't a whistleblower then I'd have gotten a commendation,' Garda tells Disclosures Tribunal'If I wasn't a whistleblower then I'd have gotten a commendation,' Garda tells Disclosures Tribunal


Lifestyle

Sunday Lunch costs €45 per person and includes several set courses but with a choice of mains.Restaurant Review: Bastible Restaurant, Dublin

It never ceases to stop me in my tracks when I hear my husband intone to our children one of the oft overused phrases from my stockpile of, “Can you just not?” categories.Lindsay Woods: If my children feel I’m doing it wrong then I must be doing it right

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness — John Keats had it right about autumn.Eyes on the pies: Eight apple tarts put to the taste test

Simone Rocha invited ieStyle into her London studio for an exclusive look behind the scenes as she put the finishing touches to her acclaimed collection for Fashion Week. Rachel Marie Walsh reportsBeing Simone Rocha: An exclusive look behind the scenes

More From The Irish Examiner