Simon Harris promises free repeat smear tests following recent cervical cancer scandal

29 April, 2018, 01:42 | Author: Norman Carr
  • Vicky Phelan

She settled her High Court action against a U.S. laboratory for €2.5m this week.

Health Minister Simon Harris said yesterday he now can not have confidence in the managers of the screening programme.

The Tánaiste apologised in the Dail to the Annacotty woman who was given incorrect test results and is now terminally ill with cervical cancer.

She was responding to comments by CervicalCheck clinical director Dr Grainne Flannelly, who said she could not be sure all of the women have yet been told about their reports.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer around the same time, but she only found out about that review a year ago.

In a statement the HSE said it wished to acknowledge Professor Flannelly and to formally thank her for the enormous dedication, contribution and expert knowledge that she brought to the CervicalCheck Programme over the past 12 years.

Ms Phelan spoke movingly of the impact the dramatic revelations of the last week and her powerful speech outside the High Court has had on her family.

The issue was brought to light this week following the tragic case of Vicky Phelan.

It said cervical screening cannot prevent all cancers and while regular screening can detect pre-cancerous changes early, "however screening tests are not diagnostic in nature and cannot always indicate the presence or absence of pre-cancerous changes".

Over 200 women diagnosed with cervical cancer should have received earlier intervention than they did, figures released by the HSE suggest.

She said her heart goes out to other women who are also victims of misdiagnosis and are now being alerted to an internal report on their medical case.

The National Association of General Practitioners has welcomed Harris' move on re-tests, saying "it is extremely important that this is available for any patient who is anxious and wants to have repeat test for reassurance. No woman should have to wait this long for information relevant to their care", it said.

"It has helped reduce the cervical cancer rate nationally at a rate of 7% per year".



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