Over 2000 Women Call Cervical Check Helpline

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An global peer group will also be established to carry out a...

Following an audit over the weekend the HSE confirmed today that 208 women were affected by the controversy and 162 of those women had not been informed that their earlier tests were reviewed, or of the outcome of that review.

A serious incident management team is continuing to gather information from around 13 hospitals on the scale of the controversy.

Mr Harris also commended Vicky Phelan - whose recent challenge in the High Court shone the national spotlight on the programme and a failure to inform women of the potential for a missed diagnosis following a review.

He also confirmed that an "expert panel" will be set up to provide the 208 women at the centre of the blunder an individual clinical review. "I do believe in the programme, cervical smears do save women's lives and what I don't want to happen is more women diagnosed with cervical cancer and I thought it was important that I come out and say that because I think people would listen to me rather than the HSE at the moment".

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Her decision to step down comes on the back of Health Minister Simon Harris' comments that he can't have confidence in the managers of Cervical Check.

Also speaking at the briefing, HSE director general Tony O'Brien, said that he first learned "of the entirety" of the Vicky Phelan cases when he read about it on the RTE website last week.

Mr Harris has also said the State should not be defending court cases against women such as Vicky Phelan, who has terminal cancer.

The CervicalCheck controversy is deepening, with the Taoiseach confirming this morning that an inquiry into the matter will be held.

Cabinet is expected to consider setting up a statutory inquiry into the scandal on Tuesday.

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Last week, she settled a damages claim against a U.S. lab for €2.5 million over the incorrect diagnosis.

A pharmacist and Fine Gael TD says she would not be surprised if there are more deaths as a result of the cervical cancer scandal.

'I will be asking HIQA to identify within its terms of reference any implications that may apply to other cancer screening programmes.

CervicalCheck can be contacted on 1800 454555.

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