Harris approves further CervicalCheck investigation

Dr Gabriel Scally to review outsourcing of work by testing laboratories overseas

 Dr Gabriel Scally during the launch of the Scally Report into the CervicalCheck screening programme last month. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dr Gabriel Scally during the launch of the Scally Report into the CervicalCheck screening programme last month. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Minister for Health Simon Harris has approved the terms of reference submitted by public health doctor Gabriel Scally for further investigation of CervicalCheck issues.

Dr Scally, when publishing his scoping inquiry into the controversy last month, had proposed carrying out a further investigation of the testing laboratories used by the programme.

Mr Harris has now approved the scope of this review, which will look at issues that came to light in relation to the labs during the scoping inquiry.

In particular, Dr Scally will look at the outsourcing of work by the labs and the extent to which the HSE, CervicalCheck and the National Screening Service were aware of this.

His report last month revealed that one of the testers, CPL in Austin, Texas, had farmed out slides from Ireland to labs in other parts of Texas and to Hawaii.

Dr Scally’s further investigation will examine whether this was allowed under the agreement with the screening programme. It will also look at the accreditation held by the labs, the circumstances which led to the labs carrying out work for CervicalCheck and issues relating to their ownership and governance structures.

The controversy arose earlier this year when it emerged hundreds of women who had been diagnosed with cervical cancer were not informed of a retrospective audit which revised earlier smear tests showing no abnormality had been detected.

The Minister thanked Dr Scally for his ongoing commitment to the issue.