The HSE has known since February of an IT glitch that led to delayed smear test results for 800 women — but mistakenly believed that the laboratory processing the tests was communicating the results manually.
That is according to Peter McKenna, clinical director of the HSE’s Women and Infants’ Health Programme, who fended off talk of a lack of transparency, saying “elements” of the issue only emerged in the past 10 days.
In fact, it was the persistence of a woman who underwent cervical cancer screening in December and had trouble getting her results that highlighted the issue.
The question of who knew what, and when, — which have dogged the CervicalCheck scandal — were again to the fore yesterday as Labour health spokesman Alan Kelly said it is “the women who are anxiously waiting for answers who have had to fight for information”.Michael Harty, chairman of the joint Oireachtas health committee, told RTÉ yesterday that it was a disappointing development.He said
Gabriel Scally, who investigated the CervicalCheck scandal, had told the committee recently that, following on from his report and recommendations, he was confident it would make the service more reliable.
Colm Henry, HSE chief clinical officer said they are working with Quest Diagnostics, the laboratory in question, “to add to what is known to date and to fully investigate this issue, with a focus on patient safety”.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said he has decided to commission an immediate rapid review of the incident.
“This review will examine in detail how the communication process for providing results to women was planned and managed,” he said,” he said. “I want this work to commence quickly and be completed in a timely manner, led by a chairperson external to the HSE.”