HSE releases statement following CervicalCheck scandal 1 year ago

HSE releases statement following CervicalCheck scandal

A statement was posted to their website on Monday evening.

The HSE has released a statement following the recent CervicalCheck controversy that has affected 208 women.

A briefing, held on Monday afternoon, informed press and health workers that the number of women who are believed to have been affected in the scandal is 208.

A HSE spokesperson also established, at the briefing, that 46 of the women were told of the review, while 162 were not told.

The HSE has since released a statement on the controversy, claiming that action had been taken to discover the source of miscommunication and that they plan to get in contact with the families of the women who have died.

The HSE Serious Incident Management Team (SIMT) and other members of the HSE today provided an update on work undertaken over the weekend in relation to women who received services from the CervicalCheck Programme since 2008.

The SIMT was established on Friday to ensure the 208 women who were the subject of a CervicalCheck review (an updated figure from the 206 previously confirmed) had been communicated with in relation to the review and were informed of the outcome.

Over the weekend, clinical and administrative staff worked across 13 hospitals to review hospital charts to determine whether or not this communication had happened. The process, undertaken by the SIMT, established that 46 women had been told of the review process and 162 had not been told.

The second priority for the SIMT was to ensure that arrangements were put in place to contact those women who had not been told and to offer them an appointment to meet with a clinician to go through the findings of the review.  It is planned that this will be achieved for the majority of women by the end of this week. 

From the total of 208, it was identified that 17 have sadly died. Where a woman has died and has not previously been informed, efforts will be made to identify and contact their next of kin to inform them of the review over the coming days. 

The HSE has also today announced a new governance structure for the CervicalCheck programme, which will bring it under the management of the National Women and Infant Health Programme.  We also plan to announce a new Clinical Director for the CervicalCheck programme within the coming days.

The Director General of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, emphasised the success of cervical screening in Ireland. He described how 50,000 women have been detected with pre-cancerous cells since the programme commenced and how the incidence of cervical cancer has reduced by approximately 7%. In this regard he urged women to continue to attend for their scheduled smear tests.

Following today's briefing, the Irish Cancer Society called an urgent meeting with Simon Harris to discuss miscommunication and a call to action in wake of the scandal.

"That 162 of 208 women were not promptly told of the errors associated with their smear test results is unacceptable in a modern health service," they wrote on their website.

"These women, their families and the country deserve answers as to how this could happen, and what can be done to prevent such an event reoccurring. Nothing less than a statutory enquiry can ensure that the full facts now emerge."