I propose to take Questions Nos. 159, 163 and 164 together.
In relation to the issue which has been raised by the Deputy, I would note that officials of my Department have been in contact with the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE in turn have advised that in late October 2018, an error was discovered in correctly communicating a genetic test result by the Department of Clinical Genetics at Our Lady's Children’s Hospital Crumlin (OLCHC) following an enquiry by an oncologist for a patient with recurring cancer who had a genetic test, known as a BRCA test, in 2009. Crumlin Hospital are currently reviewing this incident as a matter of the utmost priority.
This error has been reported as an incident and is being managed in accordance with the HSE Incident and Risk Management policy, including in commencing an incident review process of this transcription error in correctly communicating the test result in a letter to the referring clinician. Direct contact has been made with the patient involved in this incident, with an offer made for an Open Disclosure meeting to take place at the discretion of the patient.
As a precaution, OLCHC has also instigated a review of the communication of all BRCA test results since 2006, firstly prioritising the 335 positive BRCA results processed by the Department of Clinical Genetics. This review of the correct communication of the positive BRCA test is currently underway and is expected to be completed in the forthcoming days. The hospital will then review the correct communication of the negative BRCA tests.
For the sake of clarity, I would also like to stress to the House that there is no concern regarding the accuracy of the BRCA test itself. The error which has occurred relates to the correct communication of the test result.
A dedicated contact helpline has been set up at OLCHC to assist patients with concerns. It is in operation from Monday to Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm. Patients wishing to contact the helpline should phone (01) 4096219.