Republic of Ireland news

CervicalCheck controversy: Many more women in Republic may be affected

Health minister Simon Harris has said more than 208 women may have been affected by the cervical screening row. Picture by Niall Carson, Press Association

MORE women may have been affected by the Republic's CervicalCheck screening controversy, the health minister has said.

Simon Harris told the Dáil that new information had emerged which revealed several cases of women with cervical cancer have not been audited.

An unpublished audit of cervical checks, discovered in 2014, had found that 208 women with cervical cancer who had undergone smear tests should have got treatment earlier.

Mr Harris said last night many other women had not had their cases audited.

"While CervicalCheck has audited all cases notified to it, I have been informed that a potentially significant number of cases will not have been subjected to an audit of their screening history," he said.

"These are not new cases of cancer, nor is it a group of women wondering if they have cancer.

"These are women who have already been diagnosed with cervical cancer and treated as such, but their cases have not been included in a clinical audit."

The HSE confirmed yesterday that the majority of the women affected by the cervical smear controversy had not been told about the audits or their outcome.

It said 17 women had died although the causes of their deaths have not been established.

The revelations come following concerns about the case of cancer patient Vicky Phelan.

Ms Phelan (43), from Limerick, was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years after her smear test results of 2011 were incorrectly reported as clear of abnormalities.

Last week Ms Phelan settled her High Court action against a US laboratory for €2.5 million.

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