Ireland Investigates Cervical Cancer Screening Scandal

Tony O'Brien and Simon Harris

They're among 206 women identified in an audit of CervicalCheck, who may have had a delayed misdiagnosis were not told about it by their doctors.

Speaking on Ray D'Arcy's Radio One show on Monday afternoon the mother-of-two said: "I'm very upset to be honest, to think that there is 17 women, it was bad enough that I knew there was three, I'm quite upset today".

She also revealed that Minister for Health Simon Harris called her personally to apologise.

Under the auspices of this investigation an worldwide peer group will also be established to review root and branch our cervical screening programme in Ireland against best global standards and practices.

Every woman who had a smear test and wants a recheck for reassurance can have it arranged by her GP and paid for by CervicalCheck.

The Minister already sent in a hit squad - known as the Serious Incident Management Team (SMIT) - on Friday to conduct a review and contact all of the affected women.

She told the HSE of her intention to resign saying she was sorry that recent events caused distress and worry to women.

Following an audit over the weekend the HSE confirmed today that 208 women were affected by the controversy and 162 of those women had not been informed that their earlier tests were reviewed, or of the outcome of that review.

Mr Harris said he hopes these steps "will ensure the integrity of the cervical screening programme at the same time as providing learning for all cancer screening programmes".

On Thursday, 43-year-old Phelan settled a High Court damages claim for €2.5 million over her missed diagnosis.

'In addition I am appointing an International Clinical Expert Panel to provide the women concerned with an individual clinical review.

"She said today that she never could have 'imagined the magnitude" of the situation.

The smear tests of nearly 1,500 women diagnosed with cervical cancer over the past ten years may be analysed as part of a review announced by the health minister, The Times has learnt.

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