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All CervicalCheck samples to be tested in US after Irish lab has accreditation suspended

The National Cervical Screening Laboratory lost its accreditation due to “administrative delays”.

ALL CERVICALCHECK SAMPLES are to be tested by a US provider after the National Cervical Screening Laboratory at Coombe Hospital had its accreditation suspended this week due to “administrative delays”. 

A spokesperson for the hospital today stated that it regrets that, due to delays in completing paperwork with the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB), Coombe Hospital will not be accepting any further HPV and cytology samples. 

All CervicalCheck samples will tested by the programme’s “other quality assured provider”, Quest Laboratories in the US, “with no impact for the women who use the screening service”, according to the spokesperson for Coombe Hospital. 

They added that work is currently underway to fix the issue that led to their accreditation being suspended, and that the hospital is working with INAB to ensure the outstanding administrative issues are addressed “in the shortest possible timeframe”. 

The HSE has previously stated that it uses a lab provider in the US to test these samples because “there are not enough quality-assured labs in Ireland that meet our needs”. 

“We hold regular meetings with the laboratories to ensure they are operating to the required standard,” the service added. 

Free cervical screening tests are offered to all women in Ireland who are between 25 and 65 years of age. 

The HSE sends letters out to remind service users when their next test is due. 

Cervical screening is a procedure where a doctor or nurse takes a sample of cells from a person’s cervix. These are checked for infection with HPV types that known to increase the risk of cervical cancer. 

If HPV is found once CervicalCheck samples are screened, two experts examine the sample for abnormal cell changes. Follow up care is then arranged. 

The INAB told The Journal that it cannot comment on individual organisations and on “any changes to their scopes of accreditation”.


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