Required reading

While a number of women, including the celebrated campaigner Vicky Phelan, have reached settlements against the HSE and laboratories for inadequate smear testing, the case taken by Limerick woman Ruth Morrissey is the first to have been heard in full in the High Court.

In that respect, the hearing which ran for 37 days is likely to be regarded as a test case relating to the CervicalCheck controversy.

Ms Morrissey won her case against the HSE and two US laboratories over the testing of her cervical smear slides in 2009 and 2012.

The judge ruled the HSE is entitled to an indemnity against the laboratories in respect of the entirety of the claim except for €10,000 relating to the fact Ms Morrissey was not informed of an audit review of her smear tests.

The written judgment by Mr Justice Kevin Cross runs to almost 30,000 words.

It is a fulsome yet concise and precise account of the case and also illuminates the main issues surrounding smear testing. It should be read with great care by every senior hospital doctor and HSE manager.

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