Number of women impacted by Cervical Check scandal likely to increase

The head of the National Screening Service says informing any women impacted 'will be the first priority'

Number of women impacted by Cervical Check scandal likely to increase

Damien McCallion. Photo: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

The number of women affected by the Cervical Check scandal is likely to increase, according to the head of the National Screening Service.

At least 209 women were not told about the clinical audit of their cancer tests, and officials have warned that number is likely to rise as more cases are reviewed.

A review is currently being carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as officials work to figure out if any other women are affected.

The national director of the National Screening Service, Damien McCallion, has said more women will be contacted about their cancer test audits.

Speaking at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today, Mr McCallion explained: "Yes [the number] will get larger I would expect, before the Royal College review concludes.

"As we're informed of any changes in interpretation from an audit, we will inform the women first - that is the first priority."

He added: "The number at the moment is still the 209, but that will be added to... there are people that are being added to at the moment as the audit goes through."

The State Claims Agency, meanwhile, told the committee that there's now 28 active legal cases in relation to Cervical Check.

Documents

Dr Gabriel Scally is continuing his scoping inquiry into the Cervical Check controversy.

Earlier this week, he issued a progress report in which he raised concerns about delays in getting access to requested documents.

He also highlighted that some of the documents were provided in non-searchable or difficult to read formats, observing: "It is disappointing and unclear why documents that would originally have been prepared in electronic format (including some very recent documents) are not available to the Inquiry in that format, rather than as a scanned version of the printed copy."

John Connaghan, acting Director General of the HSE, has stressed that they are working to give the inquiry all the information needed.

Also appearing before the PAC, Mr Connaghan told deputies: "HSE has provided to Dr Scally as many of the documents as possible that have been requested by him within the timescale required.

"Documents pertaining to contracting of laboratory services have been prepared for release... but in some instances require legal clearance, and in other instances the consent of other parties prior to the release."

Following calls from the opposition yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that turning the scoping inquiry into a full Commission of Investigation needs to be considered