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Dublin: 12°C Saturday 17 April 2021

HSE says 18 women affected by CervicalCheck controversy have died

The previous figure was 17 women.

Vicky Phelan
Vicky Phelan
Image: GoFundMe

THE HSE HAS said 18 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy have died. The previous figure was 17 women.

In a statement released this evening, the HSE said 203 of the 209 women (or their families) whose smear test results could have been incorrect have been contacted.

“Most women have at this stage been contacted and meetings either held or arranged to discuss the audit and the response with them. 18 of the 209 women are deceased and where this is the case their family/next of kin are being contacted,” the HSE said.

The organisation added that its Serious Incident Management Team (SIMT) “has been working to respond to the failings revealed by the CervicalCheck audit”.

Hospitals have been working since the SIMT was established to contact all the women affected and to discuss the audit with them.

“The HSE is working with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland and the Department of Health to identify any other women who had cervical cancer during this time, who may also have had a CervicalCheck test.”

Vicky Phelan and Emma Mhic Mhathúna

The CervicalCheck scandal came into the public eye last month when Vicky Phelan, whose cervical cancer is now terminal, settled a High Court action against the HSE and
Clinical Pathology Laboratories (CPL) for €2.5 million over incorrect smear test results from 2011.

Health Minister Simon Harris has launched an inquiry into the controversy, and the HSE’s Director General Tony O’Brien stepped down last week.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people attended a rally in Tralee in Co Kerry this evening to support Emma Mhic Mhathúna.

Emma was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, three years after a smear test result incorrectly came back as normal. She previously underwent treatment for cervical cancer and received the all-clear in April, but found out last week that the cancer has returned and is terminal.

More than 16,500 calls have been answered by the HSE’s CervicalCheck freephone helpline since 28 April.

If you’re concerned about the results of your smear test, you can contact the helpline as follows:

  • From Ireland: 1800 45 45 55
  • From outside Ireland: +353 21 4217612

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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