New CervicalCheck head sorry for delay in returning calls

Damien McCallion replaced former clinical director Gráinne Flannelly who resigned last month

CervicalCheck is hoping to increase the number of experienced health professionals and to clear the log jam of calls by the end of this week.

CervicalCheck is hoping to increase the number of experienced health professionals and to clear the log jam of calls by the end of this week.

 

The new head of CervicalCheck has apologised for the delay in returning calls to 75 per cent of women who have contacted the helpline service.

The service was set up after Limerick mother of two Vicky Phelan (43) settled a High Court action against a US laboratory, subcontracted by the CervicalCheck screening programme to assess her smear tests, without admission of liability for €2.5 million last week.

Ms Phelan discovered that a 2011 smear test that had initially shown no abnormalities was, three years later, found to be inaccurate. She was not told of the false test until September 2017. She is now suffering from terminal cancer.

It subesequently emerged that 209 women had been affected by the cervical cancer scandal.

Damien McCallion replaced CervicalCheck’s clinical director Gráinne Flannelly, who resigned last month.

He told RTÉ’s News at One programme on Monday that priority was being given to women with a history of cancer or abnormal smear readings.

The process is that records are checked and then calls are returned by a health professional who has experience in treating cancer, he said.

Mr McCallion added that they are hoping to increase the number of experienced health professionals and to clear the log jam of calls by the end of this week.

“We are hopeful we can increase the number of calls that can be dealt with by more professionals.

“Overtime, increased hours and a huge input from staff who have come in over the bank holiday weekend are helping. We are trying to get through calls as quickly as possible.

“We aim to get through the vast majority this week. We are also texting others to keep them informed.”

Mr McCallion advised that guidance is available through www.cervicalcheck.ie and maintained that there is no variation between the three laboratories used to examine smear tests.

“There is no variation between the three individual laboratories. The results are within international norms.”