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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 30 March, 2020

CervicalCheck smear results weren't sent to some women due to IT glitch at US lab

“It is unfortunate that the CervicalCheck programme has been hit with another body blow,” Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly said.

Image: Shutterstock/Image Point Fr

AN IT GLITCH that occured at a US lab examining the smear slides of women in Ireland meant that some women have not been sent their results

RTÉ News first reported that 800 women were affected by the glitch, and that the HSE has apologised to those affected. 

The Department of Health confirmed to in a statement:

“The HSE yesterday advised the Department that it became aware in June 2019 that, due to an IT process issue with one Quest Diagnostics laboratory, a number of results letters were not issued to women and/or their GPs.

“The HSE has advised it is working to ensure that all women and GPs are informed of results, and that it expects this process to be complete in the coming days.

“The existence of an IT issue was identified following engagement from the Department with the National Screening Service on representations from one individual.”

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly has said the HSE must explain the incident further, and said it is “imperative” to know whether there are any clinical implications as a result of this IT glitch.

“I understand the majority of tests were primarily repeat HPV tests which were done because previous tests were carried out outside of the recommended time frame.

In the first instance we need to know if there are any clinical implications to this. Did any of the delayed test results indicate abnormalities or the need for further investigation or medical treatment? 

Donnelly also asked that if this problem had arisen in June, why it was only brought to the attention of the government by the HSE in July.

“Why did the HSE not come clean and say there was an IT problem the second they found out about it? It might have, at the very least, alleviated some of the anxiety some women were undoubtedly experiencing.”

Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly said that the situation was “incredibly regrettable”. 

“It is unfortunate that the CervicalCheck programme has been hit with another body blow as a result of an IT system failure.

“The HSE and the Minister must look into this situation and find out how this IT issue arose and if there are more than 800 women affected. They must also ensure that the affected women are informed of this situation and issued with their results as soon as possible.”

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