Memos sug­gest that 280 women may be af­fected

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - CERVICAL CANCER SCANDAL -

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL HSE memos re­leased this week ap­pear to sug­gest that the cer­vi­cal can­cer false neg­a­tive scan­dal could in­volve 280 women – a much higher num­ber than cur­rently in the pub­lic do­main.

Three brief­ing notes on the Cer­vi­calCheck au­dit by the HSE that were pro­vided to the Dáil’s Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee ear­lier this week, paint a chaotic pic­ture of a ser­vice strug­gling to com­pre­hend the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion.

Two of the brief­ing notes, both from July 2016, give dif­fer­ent tal­lies in re­la­tion to the num­ber of af­fected women.

The first of the July brief­ing notes says that 56 let­ters have al­ready been sent out, and a fur­ther 200 are due to be sent out in July/August of 2016.

The memo states: ‘To date, a to­tal of 56 let­ters have been is­sued to treat­ing clin­i­cians for cases where cy­tol­ogy was re­viewed and a fur­ther 200 let­ters will is­sue dur­ing July/ August where cy­tol­ogy was re­viewed.

‘This will com­plete the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of all his­toric cases in the early years of the screen­ing pro­gramme (Septem­ber 2008 – 2014).’

Given the vol­ume of let­ters that will be is­sued over the com­ing weeks, it is pos­si­ble that in­di­vid­ual cases could ap­pear in the pub­lic do­main.

How­ever, the sec­ond brief­ing note from July 2016 on the up­date of the cer­vi­cal can­cer clin­i­cal au­dit process shows that the fig­ure has es­ca­lated even fur­ther to po­ten­tially 286.

‘To date, a to­tal of 86 let­ters have been is­sued to treat­ing clin­i­cians for cases where cy­tol­ogy was re­viewed and a fur­ther ap­prox­i­mately 200 let­ters will is­sue dur­ing July/August 2016 where cy­tol­ogy was re­viewed.’

This fi­nal ap­prox­i­mated fig­ure would en­com­pass all his­toric cases un­der­taken as part of the au­dit, ac­cord­ing to the brief­ing note – an un­ex­plained rise since the pre­vi­ous memo.

‘This will com­plete the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of all his­toric cases for the early years of the screen­ing pro­gramme (Septem­ber 2008 – 2014) in ad­di­tion to re­cent cases (2015 – 2016) as the re­view find­ings be­come avail­able,’ the brief­ing note says.

When con­tacted by the Ir­ish Mail on Sun­day on Fri­day about the dis­crep­an­cies in the fig­ures, and asked whether the ac­tual fig­ure of women im­pacted was higher than the 209 cur­rently in the pub­lic do­main, the HSE re­sponded: ‘These is­sues will be ex­plored un­der the aus­pices of the Scally Re­view, with which the HSE will be co­op­er­at­ing fully.’

The MoS con­tacted the HSE again yes­ter­day about the dis­crep­ancy but a spokesman was un­able to pro­vide any fur­ther clar­ity.

‘I can’t give any more of an up­date to you than was given yes­ter­day,’ the spokesman said.

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