Further Questions need to be answered following RCOG review

03 December 2019

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has said that the HSE, Department of Health and RCOG have further questions to answer following the publication of the Report of the Independent Expert Panel Review of Cervical Screening

Deputy Kelly said:

“While acknowledging the RCOG review, I have great difficulty that it took this long. I have many questions and issues with this report.I note 159 women would have had different results. I note that the RCOG agree with me that auditing of Cervical screening needs to commence again very quickly and from the date the previous audit stopped.

“It says a lot that the CervicalCheck patient advocates are not standing over this report today. Following extensive dealings with the CervicalCheck patient advocates I understand that they will not stand over the information women have received from RCOG and as a result of this are calling on women who took part in this review to get their slides independently checked, and that the State should pay for this. This is something that must be seriously considered.

“I have real issues with the processes around the RCOG review, especially the independence of the review. This was meant to be an independent review, yet it had to be validated at all stages by the HSE.

“Why did so many batches of women’s slides have to be returned to RCOG by the HSE because of issues with the data? There was also issues around the labelling of slides and the and in some cases women got two different sets of results.

“When it comes to the data that RCOG had, we know there were issues with dates of smears, dates of results, the type and stage of cancer women had, pages missing from files. This is simply not good enough. Also some women’s slides were being mixed up. . In a review as serious as this, there should have been no confusion over what slides belonged to who.

“I really have to ask about the process engaged by RCOG, the HSE and the Department of Health. How did the Department of Health verify everything they were doing was actually accurate? How have we seen scenarios where women were getting two totally different sets of results from RCOG?

“I look forward to putting these questions to the Minister and to representatives from RCOG. I also look forward to bringing the patient advocates before the Health Committee in the coming weeks.”

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