Around 11,500 women were given out-of-date CervicalCheck smear tests, the Health Service Executive has said.
Quest Diagnostics, one of the laboratories hired to carry out testing, told the HSE last November that standard HPV tests had been carried out “outside of the manufacturer’s recommended timeframe”.
It was believed that the tests were likely to remain accurate even though they had expired, but the HSE said it recalled some women for a second test as a precaution.
Revealing the scale of the expired tests for the first time, the HSE said of the 11,500 identified, about 4,000 women were invited to attend their GP for a precautionary repeat cervical screening test.
This was even though the risk was “exceedingly low”, according to the interim CervicalCheck clinical director, Dr Peter McKenna.
Approximately 3,000 women took up the invitation for a retest, the HSE said.
The HSE said last week it learned that Quest Diagnostics had also failed to send test results to the GPs of around another 800 women.
The tests were on samples which were retested because their original HPV test was carried out outside the manufacturer’s recommended timeframe.
“There was deemed to be no clinical reason for people who had tested positive for HPV to be rechecked,” a spokesman said.
“These women, based on a positive HPV result, would have either been referred for colposcopy or would have been reviewed and have already discussed their care needs with their doctor.”