HSE confirms 17 women have died as a result of CervicalCheck controversy

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Seventeen women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy have died, the HSE has confirmed.

The Minister for Health wants HIQA to investigate why 162 women were not told their smear tests were being reviewed.

He said all patients should be contacted by their hospital today.

Since 2008, 1,482 CervicalCheck cases were reviewed and of these, 208 were found o have had false negatives. All of the other women affected would also be informed by today and given an appointment with a clinician free of charge.

The reviews now ordered by Minister for Health Simon Harris will assess the quality and accuracy of the current Irish cervical cancer screening test process and whether the outsourcing of the tests to global laboratories will continue.

Last week, Ms Phelan settled her High Court action against a United States laboratory for €2.5m.

The Attorney General has been asked to see if any cases similar to Vicky Phelan's are being taken so they can be settled without going to the courts.

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Mr Varadkar said the Government was discussing how the inquiry would operate. While insisting that cancer screening "does work", he acknowledged that there had been "appalling communication failures".

He said it would have full powers to compel witnesses and documents from the HSE and his department.

MINISTER FOR HEALTH Simon Harris has said a "potentially considerable number" of cervical cancer cases will not have been subjected to an audit of their CervicalCheck screening history. He said a liaison nurse will coordinate with the women. We also plan to announce a new Clinical Director for the CervicalCheck programme within the coming days.

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.

Minster Harris also said he was not ruling out a redress for those affected and said he is confident in the head of the HSE to do his job.

More than 2,000 women have called the CervicalCheck helpline over the weekend.

Vicky, 43, who lives in Annacotty, Limerick, and is originally from Mooncoin was diagnosed with cancer three years after her smear test results of 2011 were incorrectly reported as being clear of any abnormalities.

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