A review of the latest smear check scandal will not examine whether women have been delayed treatment or a cervical cancer diagnosis.
Dublin City University president Brian MacCraith is to hold an “an immediate rapid review” of an IT glitch which left 800 women without smear test results. This will only look into when the HSE was told and how the error was handled.
Advocate Stephen Teap has slammed the HSE, which knew of the glitch as far back as June 25 but failed to inform him and fellow patient representative Lorraine Walsh until last Thursday, claiming they have “gone back to their old ways” in hiding the facts.
“We take three steps forward and 10 steps back, it’s a complete and utter joke,” said Mr Teap, who called on the HSE to carry out its own investigation of the women impacted to ensure their treatment has not been delayed.
“I am confident about nothing now because we have been left in the dark, we have spent the last year-and-a-half trying to build up confidence and trust and now they have broken that completely.”
Ms Walsh said: “I am hoping this rapid review will give us some answers but I am skeptical at the moment.”
The 800 tests were carried out between October 1, 2018, and June 25.
Health Minister Simon Harris admitted there were serious communications issues between the US lab responsible for testing slides and the HSE and said this was “not acceptable”.
“Clearly there was a communications issue here, where they believed laboratories had conveyed results to GPs and women and that had not happened,” he said.
Mr Harris said all of the women impacted will receive results by midweek.
As part of the review, Prof MacCraith will be asked to:
The review will not look into whether women may have been delayed any treatment or delayed diagnosis as a result of the error which in some cases left patients waiting for up to nine months.
Labour Party health spokesman Alan Kelly branded the terms of reference “a joke”.
“What is worrying is that the HSE are playing such a huge role in this investigation despite appointing an independent chair,” he said.
“The fact that the HSE are servicing this review means that the HSE is essentially investigating themselves; this should not be the case.”
This was echoed by Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly, who said Gabriel Scally’s CervicalCheck investigation highlighted communication issues but it is clear that these recommendations have not been adopted.