CervicalCheck service and accountability


Sir, – Are we to believe that, though questions about the reliability of cervical smear checks began to surface as far back as 2014, the relevant ministers remained completely unaware of the potential catastrophe?

Surely the possibility of a legal challenge must have occurred to someone, and a “heads up” passed along? – Yours, etc,


Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Sir, – The Taoiseach has cited ISO quality assurance as a reason to have confidence in the quality of testing carried out in cervical check labs in the US possessing such ISO quality assurance.

It appears that Leo Varadkar does not understand what ISO quality assurance is about; it only audits the quality of an organisation’s documented procedure – and not the actual quality of the work it carries out. As is often cited, if a company’s role is to manufacture faulty light bulbs – and it documents that process completely and passes an ISO audit on it – it will receive ISO 9000 quality assurance.

This is not a moot point. It suggests that our Government falsely thinks that labs with ISO quality assurance guarantees a quality of testing, which it does not; and this false assumption by our Government and the HSE surely renders patients vulnerable to future lab testing that, despite ISO accreditation, may not be of sufficient testing quality and standards.

More assurance than ISO quality assurance is needed! – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.