Cervical screening contract awarded based on "lowest price"

196 women affected by the scandal have been contacted by the HSE

Cervical screening contract awarded based on "lowest price"

File photo

The contract to carry out cervical screening on behalf of the State was awarded to two US companies because they offered the cheapest price available.

The Irish Independent reports that the tender was awarded based on cost without detailing any other criteria.

The HSE has insisted that cost was only one of a number of criteria considered – however it has not confirmed what else the decision was based on.

It comes after the health service confirmed it had contacted 196 women and their families affected by the Cervical Check scandal.

The scandal was brought to light after terminally ill mother Vicky Phelan settled a case  after having her diagnosis delayed, leading to her cancer being more developed when she learned of it.

It later emerged that of 208 women whose smear tests were reviewed as part of an audit of Ireland’s national cervical screening programme, only 46 had been informed about the history of their smear tests.

in an update to its figures last night, the HSE Serious Incident Management Team (SIMT) said a total of 209 cases were identified.

The group said it has since identified another woman that requires follow-up, bringing the total to 210.

Of these, 196 have now been contacted.

In the update, the HSE said: "Most women have at this stage been contacted and meetings either held or arranged to discuss the audit and the response.”

"As some women are out of the country or not contactable, this record of contacts will be updated after Tuesday May 9th."

The HSE has also published an advice sheet for those affected.

It has pledged to begin providing a daily update of the SMITs work on the Cervical Check scandal moving forward.

Calls to the HSE information line will be returned throughout the weekend and next week.

The Cervical Check information line is available on 1800-45-45-55.