Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (475)

Alan Kelly

Question:

475. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health if women who are eligible for the review of cervical cancer slides by a body (details supplied) are not being included in the review due to the fact their slides cannot be found; if so, the number of women this has happened to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25488/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Independent Expert Panel Review of Cervical Screening is being led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the HSE is providing logistical support to RCOG in completing its review. This has included an extensive consent process, which concluded in February 2019, and the complex transfer of over 1,700 slides to the review laboratory, which began on 31 January. The process of transferring slides closed on 7 June, to allow for completion of the Review by the end of August, as planned.

While over 96% of requested slides have been transferred, some difficulties were encountered by laboratories in either locating slides or in retrieving slides which had been sent out for external independent review at the request of individuals concerned/solicitors acting on their behalf. This means that just under 4% of slides had unfortunately not been transferred to the Review by the deadline of 7 June and cannot therefore be included.

These slides fall into two categories;

- 10 women, who have a total of 29 slides, which have already been sent for external independent review at the request of the individuals concerned, or solicitors acting on their behalf

- 30 women and the next of kin of 1 woman, who have a total of 36 slides that were not retrieved by laboratories by the 7th June.

These women, or their next of kin, will now receive a partial report (if they have other slides included in the Review) or no report (if the unavailable slide was their only one in the Review).

All of the concerned women and their families were contacted last week by the HSE, the HSE having received confirmation of the final position from the laboratories earlier that week.

While the deadline for inclusion of slides in the RCOG review has now passed, laboratories will continue to search for slides not yet located and the HSE have been engaging closely with them in this regard.