18 deaths now linked to smear test crisis

The number of deaths in relation to the cervical screening scandal has risen to 18.

The additional case was identified by the HSE Serious Incident Management Team which is contacting all of the women affected.

In its latest update issued last night, the HSE said most women have, at this stage, been contacted and meetings have been either held or arranged to discuss the audit and the response with them.

With regard to women diagnosed with cancer but not notified to CervicalCheck, the HSE is working with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland and the Department of Health to identify any other women who had cervical cancer during this time, who may also have had a CervicalCheck test.

The HSE will conclude the matching process with the National Cancer Registry in the next week. It will then agree on a communication process with an international expert panel for those women identified by the National Cancer Registry matching process.

These will be the women who have been identified by the National Cancer Registry as having cervical cancer and who have had cytology with the national screening service.

This will ensure that the women involved are contacted first.

It is anticipated that the international expert panel will be in place towards the end of next week.

To date, 7,103 calls have been returned to women.

“We have teams working in Limerick, Cork, Waterford, and Dublin, and in hospitals right across the country, making contact with all of the women who have requested a call back and answering their queries, with personal health records and advice where appropriate,” said a HSE statement.

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