The number of women hit by the CervicalCheck crisis is expected to rise upon completion of an ongoing review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).
“That will be, I think, the outcome of the RCOG review, undoubtedly,” said Gabriel Scally yesterday.
He was responding to members of the Oireachtas Health Committee, where it became clear that there is still a considerable amount of confusion around who exactly the HSE included in an audit that identified 221 women as having had smears incorrectly read.
The errors potentially affected the timing and type of intervention from which they could have benefited.
Both Dr Scally, whose report on the CervicalCheck crisis was published last month, and a member of his review team, cytologist Karin Denton, said they were continuing to engage with the HSE in an effort to determine the impact of an 18-month cut-off point used by CervicalCheck when deciding which cases to audit.
Dr Denton said it appeared only women whose slides had been read more than 18 months prior to diagnosis were included.
“We feel disquiet about the 18 months,” she said. "Cancer can progress a lot in 18 months.”
She said this cut-off was decided at a meeting, but she was “not sure how that related to the 221 women”.