Woman forced to wait seven months for smear test results

A WOMAN with a family history of cervical cancer was forced to wait seven months for the result of a smear test, even though the findings were sitting in Holles Street Hospital for five months.

The woman was sent to the National Maternity Hospital last February for the test. The test was carried out, but she did not find out the results until last week when she rang the hospital’s complaints office.

On receiving her smear test results, which turned out to be negative for the cancer, she was told that the test had been returned to the hospital in late April — more than two months after the test.

The results were sent to the patient’s doctor a further two months later. But neither the doctor nor the hospital contacted the patient.

According to this week’s Irish Medical News the woman was told by the hospital that it was practice to inform the patient’s doctor of the result of a smear test, and not the patient. She was informed by her doctor that he had not contacted her as he assumed she was told the results by the hospital.

The National Maternity Hospital said its standard waiting time for a smear test result is six to eight weeks.

Her delay in receiving test results came on the same week it was confirmed that the roll out of the national screening service for cervical cancer will begin at the end of January.

The National Cancer Screening Service said it will announce details of the programme later this week.

The Irish Medical Organisation said there has not been enough consultation on how the programme would be operated, and has asked for a meeting with the HSE. It believes the programme would be best operated in GP practices.

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