Published: Sun, April 29, 2018
Medical | By Bryan Strickland

Launch of cervical screening programme helpline hit by technical glitch

Launch of cervical screening programme helpline hit by technical glitch

She was awarded €2.5m in the High Court this week.

A terminally ill mother of two, who was wrongly told she didn't have cancer in 2011, has settled her case against a U.S. lab for €2.5m.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has now established a review of the process, to establish how the scandal was allowed to unfold.

Cervical Check is writing to doctors today to make sure they've told patients the results of the audits of their smear tests.

Mr Justice Cross said he was charmed that the case had settled and said to Ms Phelan: "In the event that anybody can beat this, you can".

Mrs Phelan was given just six months to live recently.

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

The figures were released following the controversy surrounding Vicky Phelan (43), a mother of two from Limerick, who was given incorrect cancer results and is now terminally ill.

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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.

For over 170 of these women, a referral to a colposcopy might have been recommended earlier, while the remainder might have needed a repeat smear test to occur earlier.

On Thursday the HSE said that since 2008, a total 1,482 cases of cervical cancer have been notified to the CervicalCheck programme.

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

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".

"A cancer diagnosis is one of the most, if not the most, hard experiences a person and their family can deal with".

Asked if any of the women had died, she said: "This is not information kept by CervicalCheck".

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

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