Tuesday, 17th July 2018
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UHW patients affected by inquiry into Smear Test controversy

The HSE Serious Incident Management Team (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 from the HSE have worked across 13 hospitals including University Hospital Waterford 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.

It should be noted that Waterford University Hospital is the regional centre for cancer treatment in the South East and treats patients right across the region.

Vicky Phelan's High Court case and subsequent media interviews shone a public light on the scandal which has caused serious worry to thousands of Irish women over their smear tests. Originally from Mooncoin Vicky is an articulate lady and her outlining of her circumstances where she spoke of being told she had terminal cancer created a national debate which has now led to the government setting up an independent inquiry into the controversy.

A gynaecological expert said that if Vicky had been diagnosed when she received her initial smear test in 2011, there would have been a 95% chance that she could have been cured. She now lives in Annacotty, Co. Limerick with her husband Jim and children Amelia (12) and Darragh (7).

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.

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