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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020

150 patients to receive repeat cervical tests over 'possible shortcomings' in the North

The issue relates to a sole worker who had been conducting the tests, according to the North’s Public Health Agency.

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THE PUBLIC HEALTH Agency in Northern Ireland has identified 150 women who are to be offered a repeat cervical screening test over ‘possible shortcomings’ regarding the service.

The shortcomings have been identified at two separate GP practices in Co Antrim – Abbott’s Cross practice in Newtownabbey, north of Belfast, and Dr McKenna’s practice on Thames Street in the city.

All of the affected women have been sent invitations for a repeat test. The issue relates to a sole worker who had been conducting the tests, and who is no longer doing so since a review into the issue was commissioned.

This does not necessarily mean that the initial test results received by the women in question were wrong, the PHA said in a statement.

“We understand that the women who are receiving these letters may be anxious, but we would like to reassure them that this is a precautionary measure and would urge them to accept the invitation for a repeat test,” Dr Tracy Owen, cervical screening lead at the PHA, said.

130,000 cervical screening samples are taken across the North each year.

“In general, cervical screening aims to prevent cancer from occurring in the first place by checking for pre-cancerous changes in the cells that line the cervix,” said Owen.

Any early changes can then be successfully treated which is why it is so important that anyone who is invited for screening to see it as a positive step in looking after their health.

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