Simon Harris promises free repeat smear tests following recent cervical cancer scandal 8 months ago

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

The Health Minister took to Twitter to share the news.

Simon Harris has announced that he is currently organising for repeat smear tests to be arranged free of charge following the recent news that several cases of cervical cancer have gone misdiagnosed.

It emerged on Friday that more than 200 women developed cervical cancer after having a misdiagnosed smear in the free national screening programme.

The HSE confirmed the news that 206 women developed the illness after having a misdiagnosed smear and should have had further medical investigations.

The new figures emerged two days after mother-of-two Vicky Phelan, who has terminal cervical cancer, was awarded €2.5m in the High Court. Ms Phelan had a false negative smear test result in 2011 but developed symptoms in 2014 and was diagnosed with cancer.

The smear test failed to pick up abnormal cells which need to be removed before they become cancerous. It’s understood that if these women had been referred onwards, the cancer could have been prevented or treated earlier.

Harris took to Twitter on Saturday to share the news of the repeat tests on offer, which, according to him, will be paid for by the State.

"Have heard from many women today who have had smear tests & would like a repeat test to reassure them," he wrote.

"Am arranging for this facility to be available & the State will meet the cost of the repeat test. Arrangements on how this will operate will be outlined next week."

Following the news of the incorrect test results, a new helpline has been set up to reassure women who believe they might have been at risk.

The number was set up for launching at 9am on Saturday morning for anyone who wished to call in, but was faced with an immediate glitch when those who rang heard an automated message telling them that the helpline was only open from Monday to Friday.

The glitch was soon fixed and is now contactable on 1800 45 45 55.