Taoiseach to apologise to women affected by CervicalCheck failures in next Dáil term

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will issue an apology to the women impacted by the CervicalCheck programme failures in the next Dáil term.

Taoiseach to apologise to women affected by CervicalCheck failures in next Dáil term

Update: The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will issue an apology to the women impacted by the CervicalCheck programme failures in the next Dáil term.

Mr Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris met with members of the 221+ support group earlier, where a number of issues regarding the national screening programme were discussed.

The meeting was held a day after a rapid review found more than 4,080 women had delayed test results communicated to them as a result of an IT problem at US lab, Quest.

Minister Harris described the meeting as very useful and said the Government will continue to engage with patient advocates going forward.

Earlier: CervicalCheck support group meet Taoiseach and Health Minister following rapid review

Members of the 221+ CervicalCheck support group met the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris this morning.

Lorraine Walshe and Stephen Teap attended the meeting, where they discussed how the state plans to issue a formal apology to those impacted by the national screening programmes failures.

The meeting comes just a day after a rapid review into the latest CervicalCheck controversy was published.

It found that 4,080 women had delayed test results communicated to them as a result of an IT problem at US laboratory.

Quest Diagnostics laboratory based at Chantilly in Virginia in the US processed tests for the Health Service Executive's CervicalCheck programme.

In July, Professor Brian MacCraith was asked to examine the series of events that led to the delay in a rapid review.

Before the review, the predicted number of women affected was 800, five times lower than the actual figure.

There are currently 3,025 tests at risk of expiry while in a backlog after a delay in reporting results, the review found.

The consistent theme was frustration from women over delays and lack of information and the decision not to inform women of the IT issue for more than six months.

Prof MacCraith said: "My engagement with this review caused me to discover multiple examples of women in person, via social media, parliamentary questions frustrated not only by delays in receiving their results but more so by the lack of any clarifying or contextual information."

He added that within Cervical Check there were "too few people managing too many significant projects simultaneously".

Prof MacCraith recommended that the HSE act quickly to ensure CervicalCheck becomes a well-structured organisation and recruitment is given the highest priority.

His review also recommends recognising the important role of patient representatives and should adopt an International Advisory Group for CervicalCheck to ensure best practice.

- additional reporting by Press Association

More in this section