In excess of 2,000 calls were recorded by the special CervicalCheck Helpline, set up by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the aftermath of revelations that a number of women were given the incorrect smear test results in 2011. A review of the test results in 2014 identified that the mistakes had occurred but those impacted were not notified for a further three years, during which time it is believed that a number of these women passed away.
Vicky Phelan, who was informed in January 2018 that she has between 6-12 months to live settled her High Court Compensation against the US laboratory last week Ms Phelan for €2.5m incorrect diagnosis compensation.
Ms Phelan has claimed that she was told in September 2017 that she was just one of ten women whose results were re-examined in 2014 by the laboratory. When she asked her doctor if any of those affected by the incorrect smear test results had died, he said he knew of three individuals who had passed away.
The head of the CervicalCheck programme Ms Gráinne Flannelly, has resigned from her position due to the controversy which recently came to light. Time the cervical cancer had become terminal.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney revealed, in an interview RTÉ’s that the Government has already begun to introduce changes smear test procedures and the manner in which patients are made aware of an incorrect diagnosis. Mr Coveney said: “I think learning from this case, I think the Government will move forward on the recommendation of Minister Harris that in cases like this patients are entitled to information quickly. Sometimes it takes cases like Vicky Phelan’s cases to ensure policy change happens quickly”.
The special phoneline was launched last weekend to answer queries from all concerned people. A representative for the HSE’s Serious Incident Management Team (SIMT) was extremely busy. He stated: “The SIMT was informed that the helpline was once again very busy today. As of 1:30pm there were 614 contacts.”