Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Simon Harris to organise free repeat smear tests after cervical cancer controversy

Cancer patient settlement €2.5M by High Court Terminally Ill Mother Of Two Settles Against US Lab
Jerome Frank | 29 April, 2018, 21:39

She was responding to comments by CervicalCheck clinical director Dr Grainne Flannelly, who said she could not be sure all of the women have yet been told about their reports.

Vicky Phelan, with her husband Jim, was awarded €2.5m from the High Court after she sued the HSE and a lab in the U.S. for failing to tell her the correct diagnosis of a smear test in 2011. Some of these women are now dead from cervical cancer.

The cervical screening test is sensitive and the nature of screening is not diagnostic, so tests can not always confirm the presence or absence of pre-cancerous changes.

Health Minister Simon Harris has sent in a hit squad to investigate CervicalCheck.

"The HSE also said it was "considered essential" that the remaining members of CervicalCheck's leadership team remained in situ" while a peer review is carried out.

"We would like to see a review of where smear tests go for testing we have a fully accredited, quality cytology screening system in Ireland, why is testing going to the States?"

In July of that year Ms Phelan was determined to have cervical cancer and experienced radical chemo-radiotherapy.

In a statement, Dr Flannelly apologised, and said: 'I am sorry that recent events caused distress and worry to women.

"We have always advocated and campaigned for resources for screening, particularly in relation to cervical screening because it is the best measure we have to avoid cervical cancer, which is a awful cancer, but is one that, if caught early enough, can be managed". Combined with the HPV vaccine, there is an opportunity to all but eradicate cervical cancer in the decades ahead. "This will further reduce the risk of cervical cancer and improve identification of the risk of cervical cell abnormalities", the charity said.

"No diagnostic test or screening service is 100% reliable, but what should be the number one priority for all aspects of the health service is the patient and their care".

Vicky Phelan settled her case yesterday, but has called for an inquiry into the national screening programme.

The charity added that any woman affected by this story who needs support can speak to trained cancer nurses on 1800 200 700.

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