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Cervical Check Has Failed Another 800 Irish Women

A recent press release has thrust the HSE's cervical cancer screening system into the public for all the wrong reasons once more.

The US-based CervicalCheck screening system has been compromised once more. 

In a press release issued by the Health Service Executive, the piece details that the management team is currently responding to an issue within the screening service, where one of Quest Diagnostics’ laboratories based at Chantilly in Virginia, USA, which has delayed issuing cervical screening results due to IT problems in how result letters were electronically triggered. 

The Quest Diagnostics Chantilly facility currently only performs HPV testing for CervicalCheck, which is just one part of the overall cervical screening test process.

The current problem appears to primarily affect approximately 800 women who were having HPV tests rechecked, dating from late 2018 until June 2019.

Speaking at a press conference today, Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer offered condolences and apologised for the situation. 

"The HSE and CervicalCheck are concerned about this incident and we are working with Quest Diagnostics to add to what is known to date and to fully investigate this issue, with a focus on patient safety and providing information to people affected as soon as it is available.

"Any delay and inefficiency in the cervical screening service is hugely disappointing for the women involved and for our service, and we apologise to everyone involved and commit to keeping them all informed."

It's understood that of the approximately 350,000 tests CervicalCheck will process in this 12-month period, the information available relates to approximately 800 people.

The women known to be affected by this delay were contacted on July 1, asking them to contact their GP to get their results.

"We are disappointed to see this issue arise, and we appreciate that the people affected have already experienced long delays with getting their results from the screening service," Dr Henry continued. 

"Getting cervical screening services back online within normal operating times and processes in an ongoing challenge, but we continue to work on rebuilding the cervical screening service in Ireland."

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