The HSE’s chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry, has said that the so-called “IT glitch” with regards to CervicalCheck, is “unacceptable and shouldn’t have happened.”
He told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the clinical risk to women at the centre of the latest incident is low, but that “first and foremost” it is important to determine if all the women involved have spoken to their GP so it can be determined if they need to be sent on for further investigation.
Of the more than 800 women affected, he said that 52 had a changed result after the re-test, and tested positive for the HPV virus. The re-test came about after it was discovered that the kit used for their previous test was out of date.
The re-test was a precautionary measure, he added.
Dr Henry explained that because of the IT glitch, the re-test results were sent manually to the women's GPs, but the women were not informed that the results had been returned.
Of the 52 women involved, 26 have been referred for further investigation, he said that the priority now is to ensure that the other 26 need to know to go speak to their GP “to put their minds at ease.”
He apologised for what had occurred and said: “We need to find out what happened and correct any deficits.”
Also speaking on Morning Ireland, campaigner Lorraine Walsh said that the “big picture” was the “complete breakdown, the complete failure, how it happened.”
She said this was an historical issue “you would think it would have been high on their radar.”
There is a need to ensure “that these things stop happening.”
Ms Walsh said she did not accept “that this was an IT glitch”. She said it cannot be verified that all 52 women have been informed.
There are lots of questions that the women of Ireland deserve answers to. They want to know what happened and why we were not told.
She said she was disappointed that information about the “glitch” had not been shared with the CervicalCheck steering committee. “What other information are we not getting?”
Ms Walsh urged women to be vigilant and to follow up on tests themselves.
“Be vigilant, follow up, get clarity. You can’t assume anything. Follow up with your GP. If you don’t have the information from your GP, contact CervicalCheck or if you’re not getting traction contact the 221 Group.”