Affected woman ‘concerned’ over CervicalCheck test inquiry scope

She says there is a lack of clarity about whether the full report would be published

 Paul Reid chief executive of the HSE has ordered a ‘rapid review’ of  an IT problem which led to delays informing women of repeat smear test results.

Paul Reid chief executive of the HSE has ordered a ‘rapid review’ of an IT problem which led to delays informing women of repeat smear test results.

 

The woman who brought the health service’s attention to an IT problem which led to delays informing women of repeat smear test results has expressed “concern” at the scope of an inquiry into the controversy.

Last week it emerged that around 800 women did not receive their screening results from the US laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, because of a computer glitch.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid yesterday announced a “rapid review” would take place into the latest controversy to hit the screening service.

Dublin City University president professor Brian MacCraith is to be the independent chairman of the inquiry.

The delay issuing test results was first reported in the media on July 11th, though the HSE had known about the IT problem since last February following a complaint by a woman about a delayed test.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the woman - who was referred to as ‘Sharon’ during the broadcast - said she was pleased the problem was now receiving significant attention.

“All I really wanted to do was find out where my results were and obviously when I found out there was possibly an issue for other women, that’s all I really wanted to be raised,” she said.

‘Concern’

Sharon said she had some “concern” over the make-up and scope of the review into the controversy.

The review will set out to determine the exact chronology of events from the time the IT issues first emerged until they became public.

It will also be tasked with establishing if correct procedures were followed when the HSE first became aware of the delays.

Sharon said while the review would have an independent chair, she had some concern the team supporting the inquiry would be from within HSE.

“I also had a concern about the scope of who’s involved, it wasn’t very clear who they would be talking to.

“Would they be talking to any of the women concerned or was it going to be solely based on the staff that were involved in the entire end-to-end process?,” she said.

There was also a lack of clarity around whether the full report would be made public, she said. “I really just think that at this stage with everything that’s going on with the CervicalCheck scandal that everybody has a right to know the truth and what really did happen here,” she added.

The tests were carried out between October 1st, 2018 and June 25 this year and were mainly repeat tests for human papillomavirus (HPV). The HSE has said that a small number of tests affected by the issue have also been identified outside of this time period.

Informed

The Department of Health were first informed of the IT issue by the HSE on June 25th. Officials asked the HSE to investigate the extent of the problem, and reported back to the department again on July 10th, at which stage Minister for Health Simon Harris was informed of the problem.

Sharon raised concerns that patient representatives on a CervicalCheck steering committee, set up to reform the screening service, were not informed of the issue earlier.

“I know there was a steering meeting that happened on 26th of June, so why were those people not told?,” she said.

“I’m absolutely hopeful that we will get the answers we need. That’s all I really want - the truth, just to know what happened and when and who knew. Because it’s obvious people made mistakes in this entire process and somebody didn’t tell, the decision was made not to send the letters,” she said.