Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Image: Shutterstock/Iryna Inshyna

Almost 5,000 people waiting for call to be returned by CervicalCheck helpline

The HSE has returned 2,686 calls to over 7,678 people.
May 7th 2018, 8:25 PM 12,832 39

Updated 8pm

THE HSE’S CERVICALCHECK helpline has received 11,046 phone calls, but only one third of people who requested a call back have received one.

The figures were released by the HSE’s Serious Incident Management Team (SIMT) in its daily report on the CervicalCheck scandal.

The HSE has returned 2,686 calls to over 7,678 people who had requested a call back.

The Cervical Check Audit shows that there was a high of 2,109 call answered on Tuesday, with that number dropping to 93 calls yesterday but rising to 200 calls today.

Average waiting times have also dramatically decreased – dropping from a high of 17 minutes 26 seconds on Monday to a low of six seconds on Saturday, nine seconds yesterday and 17 seconds today.

HSE Source: Cervical Check Daily Update Report

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s News at One, Health Service Executive National Director Damien McCallion who now runs CervicalCheck, apologised for the delays in callbacks.

We are certainly sorry that it has taken so long to get back to the women who have contacted us.

He said that calls from women who had previously received a diagnosis of cancer were being given priority. He said there was a logjam, but that this has been addressed.

“You’ll appreciate that if someone is ringing and has a cancer history, we have to have a healthcare professional on hand to address their query.

“Our main priority is those women who have a history.”

He added that around 500 calls have been dealt with over the last few days, but said that he could not put a date on when the full volume of queries would be addressed.


The CervicalCheck scandal came into the public eye last week when Vicky Phelan, whose cervical cancer is now terminal, settled a High Court action against a US laboratory for €2.5 million over incorrect smear test results from 2011.

Over the past 14 days, more information has continued to emerge about the controversy whereby women were told that they had normal smear test results in error. While not a test for cancer, a smear test that results in an abnormal reading can warrant further investigations to test for the presence of cancer.

It has since emerged that more than 1,500 women who developed cervical cancer did not have their cases reviewed by CervicalCheck.

The helpline is open from 9am-6pm and can be reached on 1800 45 45 55

Additional reporting by Cliódhna Russell. 

Send a tip to the author

Paul Hosford


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

    cancel reply
    Back to top