17 women affected by CervicalCheck controversy have died

Dr Grainne Flannelly

Minister for Health Simon Harris confirmed "a considerable number" of women with the condition had not been subjected to an audit of their screening history.

Chair of the HSE Serious Incident Management Team, Patrick Lynch, today said that 17 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy had died.

The society completed their statement by thanking Vicky Phelan for the role she played in unravelling the major health scandal.

'HPV is associated with 70pc of all cervical cancers and I would stress to women the importance of CervicalCheck and the HPV vaccination programme as key measures in reducing their risk of developing cervical cancer'.

The HSE has invited all women on the programme, whose GP feels she should have a further test in the wake of the recent CervicalCheck controversy, after a number of women were not told in time that they had abnormal cells.

The revelations come following revelations about the case of cancer patient Vicky Phelan.

Ms Phelan has said she does not believe Mr O'Brien learned about her case last week. Nor is it a group of women wondering if they have cancer.

The Texas-based lab which distributes CervicalCheck's smear test results will pay the settlement.

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It also emerged that of the 162 who have not been contacted, that 17 of whom have already died.

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

O'Brien was head of the National Cancer Screening Programme when smear test analysis were outsourced to the United States in 2008. "By God am I going to take these guys on, I think it's disgraceful".

The helpline will stay open until 6 this evening and the HSE says call-backs are underway.

Mr Harris said he is now moving towards establishing a commission of investigation to uncover the extent of this controversy.

'I recently approved a proposal from the National Screening Service to Move to HPV testing as the primary test for cervical cancer from October 2018. He said a liaison nurse will coordinate with the women.

The news means that more than 208 women may have been affected by the controversy.

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". "These arrangements will be confirmed next week", the HSE statement said.

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