• Around 6 thousand women who had smear tests carried out by CervicalCheck are to be re-tested after a problem with one of its labs.

    According to the Irish Independent, the lab developed an issue with its HPV screening which could lead to a risk of abnormalities being missed.

    Meanwhile, the Dail heard yesterday that waiting times for cervical smear tests were at crisis levels.

  • Cabinet Ministers will this morning consider a bill to set up an alternative process for women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy.

    Health Minister Simon Harris will bring the heads of the bill to cabinet.

    This bill would set up a tribunal for women to have their cases heard without having to go to court.

    It will operate in a similar way to the compensation tribunal that was set up for those affected by hepatitis C.

    It will be chaired by Ms Justice Mary Irvine, and will be optional for women affected by Cervical Check and their families.

    The women can still go to court if they wish, but it's intended the tribunal will be faster and less adversarial.

    It comes after further controversy around Cervical Check as the State Claims Agency is appealing the case of terminally ill Ruth Morrissey.

    The state claims it isn't appealing the 2.1 million euro settlement made to Mrs Morrissey and her husband, but a number of significant legal points that could impact future cases.

    The government is hopeful the legislation to allow for an adjudicative tribunal can be passed by the summer recess to avoid more women having to go to court.

  • A demonstration will take place in Market Square Castlebar this evening at 5pm in solidarity with the women and families nationally affected by the CervicalCheck scandal.

    The government’s being urged to take measures to ensure women can trust the health service.

    A “National Day of Action” is planned today at 25 locations across the country in solidarity with the 209 women affected.

    A demonstration is also planned for Eyre Square in Galway at 5 this evening.

    Participants are encouraged to wear red at the protests.


  • A demonstration will take place at The Fairgreen in Westport at 2pm this afternoon  (Saturday), as part of a nationwide rally following the Cervical Check scandal.

    The demonstrations are being organised by the Standing4Women campaign, and will take place at 2pm in 26 counties across the country.

    The organisers are calling for the new Patient Safety Bill, which will provide for mandatory open disclosure, to be enacted without any further delays.

    It emerged in April that an audit of smear tests showed 209 women with cervical cancer would have benefited from earlier treatment.

    Tara Bleeks is regional organiser of Standing4Women, and says today's demonstration in Westport is the second of its kind in Mayo, to show support for the women involved and their families.

  • The Irish Cancer Society has announced emergency funding so that women directly affected by the CervicalCheck controversy can have free counselling in their own community.

    Funds will be made available for an additional 500 counselling sessions in 25 Irish Cancer Society-affiliated Support Centres across the country, including Mayo Cancer Support Association, Castlebar in Mayo, Roscommon Cancer Support Centre and Tuam Cancer Care Centre. The society has taken the step in response to the significant increase in the numbers of women seeking advice and support from the charity around CervicalCheck and their smear test results.

    The announcement brings to 8,000 the number of free counselling sessions for people affected by cancer which the Irish Cancer Society will provide funding for in 2018.

    Donal Buggy is Head of Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society and told Midwest News this evening that this is important additional funding for counselling services.

  • It's emerged a medical lab that takes up to seven months to process smear tests for the HSE has been fast-tracking the results for private patients.

    MedLab in Sandyford has been able to turn around the cervical cancer tests in just two weeks for private patients, according to the Sunday Business Post.

    There's currently a backlog of 78-thousand smear test samples for public patients, and the HSE says there's no extra lab capacity to deal with it.

  • The head of the HSE has stepped down just hours after refusing to resign over the CervicalCheck scandal.

    Tony O'Brien informed the Health Minister last night admitting that there were failures in telling women about incorrect smear test results.

    Yesterday it emerged the HSE was told two years ago that women could go to the media over the scandal.

    Mr O’Brien’s resignation has also been welcomed by Mayo Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway-Walsh.

    She says that from the moment the revelations started about CervicalCheck, his position was untenable.

    Senator Conway-Walsh says the news yesterday that there were three memos outlining the fact that they knew within the HSE about these failures but kept that information from the women involved and their doctors, is unacceptable. 

    She told Midwest News this morning that people need to be held accountable in this scandal.

  • There's a call on the Health Minister Simon Harris to explain why he went against expert advice and announced extra free smear testing.

    Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers says he must immediately tackle the confusion over the latest developments in the CervicalCheck controversy.

    6,000 women will get letters next week asking them to take another smear test as their original one was made unreliable due to being delayed.

    Deputy Chambers says it's put pressure on the system and is taking too long.

  • The Minister for Health Simon Harris is due back before the Oireachtas Health Committee tomorrow (Wed) to answer questions on his decision to offer free smear tests last year, in the wake of the Cervical Check controversy.

    The Minister has come under political pressure over the past week, after it emerged that the former clinical director of CervicalCheck Gráinne Flannelly had warned against offering free tests, as she fears labs would not be able to cope.

    It also emerged at the weekend that the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan - the Government most senior advisor on health issues - did not support free re-tests.

    Almost 80,000 women across the country are now waiting up to 9 months to receive the results of their smear tests - among them is Mayo Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers, who's asking Minister Harris to apologise to all the women affected, and to outline when the backlog of tests will be cleared.

    Deputy Chambers says it's almost a year since the free tests were offered, and extra capacity should have been sought then - rather than allowing the backlog to build.

  • Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar, University Hospital Sligo and Galway University Hospital are  among the 13 hospitals nationally  where women were not informed of a delay in their cervical cancer diagnosis

    The HSE confirmed yesterday that 162 women – including 17 who have died ,are caught up in the latest cancer screening controversy.

    A review conducted by the HSE confirmed 208 women should have received earlier intervention than they did but only 46 individuals were made aware of this.

    The examination, conducted by national director of quality assurance at the HSE Patrick Lynch, confirmed 17 of these women have died. The cause of their deaths is not known.

    Mr Lynch said he could not state if these women were informed of the delayed diagnosis before they died but insisted their next of kin would be contacted by today at the very latest.

    All of the other women affected would also be informed by today and given an appointment with a clinician free of charge.

    HSE director-general Tony O’Brien apologised to all of the women involved and to their families for the “completely unacceptable” practices.

    This morning the government is expected to ask the health watchdog HIQA today to investigate the scandal and the way it was handled by the HSE.

    Health Minister Simon Harris will also bring forward proposals to Cabinet today to make it mandatory for doctors to have to tell patients about things that may affect them.

  • Another 1,500 women who've developed cancer may have to have their smear tests audited.

    Health Minister Simon Harris told the Dáil the number of women who've developed cancer and haven't had their smear tests rechecked may be double the amount originally thought.

    Many were cases of people who weren't examined by CervicalCheck, which was why they were not included in the initial figures.

    Minister Harris says they're still trying to establish the number of women affected:

  • More than 75% of the woman affected by the CervicalCheck controversy are now cancer free.

    According to HSE data, at least 165 of the 221 women diagnosed at stage two or earlier, now have no evidence of the active disease.

    However 21 of the 221 women have died, and 14 are still undergoing treatment, and their prognosis has not been shared.

    The figures also show a small number of women did not actually have cervical cancer at all.


    More time's being given to women to avail of a scheme to get free access to more smear tests.

    According to the Irish Independent, it'll now be available up to the end of this year.

    The screenings have been provided since May, as women sought reassurance following the Cervical Check controversy.




  • A new audit of women affected by the Cervical Check controversy has been commissioned by the HSE.

    It's due to a the low consent rate among the 221 plus women caught up in the controversy who were willing to participate in a government review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK.

    According to the Irish Times, only 31 percent were found to be taking part.

    The HSE is to create a healthcare team to carry out new audit, which it says it hopes will be complete by Christmas.

  • The Scally Review into the Cervical Check scandal is expected to highlight "serious system flaws" in the screening programme.

    According to the Irish Times Dr Gabriel Scally, who carried out the report, will also say that screening should be overhauled - when it's published later today.

    He'll also strongly criticise the failure to communicate new information to the women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer but were given incorrect smear results.

  • An inquiry into the CervicalCheck scandal will begin its work today after Ministers signed off on it at cabinet.

    The Scoping Inquiry will be led by Dr Gabriel Scally from the Royal Society of Medicine in the UK.

    Minister Simon Harris says it will look at why 209 women were not told about their incorrect smear results.

    The inquiry will also examine who knew what and when in the HSE and the Department of Health, before reporting in June.

  • A second report into the Cervical Check controversy could take more time to complete.

    It's looking into the standards at laboratories used for cervical screening by Cervical Check.

    The Irish Independent reports the latest Scally report may be delayed due to the breadth and complexity of issues involved.

    The opposition have been calling on the Government to publish the report as soon as possible.

  • About 80 women with cervical cancer from this region and across Ireland will travel to Dublin today to hear the Taoiseach apologise to them on behalf of the state.

    That represents nearly half of the members of the 221-plus patient support group who are still living.

    In the Dáil this afternoon, Leo Varadkar will make a formal apology to those impacted by the CervicalCheck controversy.

    He'll say the state should have informed women when they were given incorrect results.

    Labour's health spokesperson, Alan Kelly, says the cancer victims were treated appallingly.

  • Victims of the cervical smear scandal are being remembered tomorrow (Sunday), Nollaig na mBan, with a candlelight vigil on Eyre Square in Galway organised by the Galway Council of Trade Unions.

    Following the publication of the Scally Report into the scandal, the Galway Council of Trade Unions decided to remember and pay tribute to the late Emma Mhic Mhathuna and other victims of the scandal on the day which traditionally celebrates women.

    The Council is calling on public representatives to ensure that all 50 recommendations made in the Scally Report be implemented so that this could never happen again.

    Marian Spelman, President of the Galway Council of Trade Unions says it is imperative that the Government secures a licence for quality cervical smear testing in Ireland or at least in Europe and make it available to Irish women.

    They are also inviting local public representatives and councillors to join the vigil on Sunday at 6pm to show their support and willingness to keep this on the agenda until the Scally recommendations have been implemented.

    Ms Spelman told Midwest News that the candlelight vigil isn’t confined to women as the cervical screening scandal had affected men and women. 

  • Women suffering with cervical cancer are to be offered the drug Pembro for their treatment after a high profile campaign.

    It had only been available to the victims of the cervical check scandal until now.

    Doctors will be able to offer it on a case by case basis if they deem it could help the woman.

    The cost will be footed by the state and it will only be available to cervical cancer sufferers.