Cervical screening row: 17 women have died in Republic

Dr Grainne Flannelly

They revealed that 3,000 women in Ireland have been diagnosed with cervical cancer in the past ten years and that CervicalCheck carried out an audit of 1,482 previous cervical screening tests on those women.

Vicky got a call from the Taoiseach's office this evening asking if she'd like to meet with the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and she said she would in principle but at the moment she is trying to concentrate on her health and she said would get back to the Taoiseach's press adviser.

Chair of the HSE Serious Incident Management Team Patrick Lynch said the women had a right to know about their cases.

Ms Phelan, who was awarded €2.5 million in a settlement against a U.S. lab last week over a false negative smear test in 2011, has said she was very upset at the revelation that that there had been 17 deaths.

HSE director general, Tony O'Brien is also facing political pressure, as Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald told the media on Tuesday that he should resign or be sacked. In this regard he urged women to continue to attend for their scheduled smear tests.

Vicky Phelan, 43, from County Limerick, who has terminal cancer, was only informed of the misread test past year.

Mr Harris also said he is appointing an worldwide clinical panel.

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A briefing, held on Monday afternoon, informed press and health workers that the number of women who are believed to have been affected in the scandal is 208.

She added: "This is a massive patient safety issue".

'Cancer screening programmes, offered through the HSE's National Screening Service, aim to detect cancer as early as possible, leading to better treatment options and outcomes for patients.

The HSE's Open Disclosure Policy 2013 was designed specifically to deal with adverse healthcare events in a transparent and open manner but it is sadly clear that it is not working and that mandatory disclosure must now be brought in.

Vicky Phelan's lawyer, Cian O'Carroll, called the conduct throughout the process appalling and said, "it is particularly disgusting when you learn of the number of people that have died".

Sligo University Hospital is one of the 13 hospitals given information relating to 208 women who should have received earlier intervention following cervical cancer tests.

Speaking today on RTÉ radio's Seán O'Rourke show he rejected calls for him to stand down ahead of his planned retirement.

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