Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (338)

Alan Kelly


338. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health when the new audit of CervicalCheck will commence; if it will commence from the date the previous audit finished in 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39386/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Since 2010, as part of quality assurance measures, CervicalCheck reviewed the screening history of every woman notified to it as having a diagnosis of cervical cancer, who had previously been screened by the programme. The objective of audit and quality review at CervicalCheck was to facilitate continued improvement and ongoing learning within the programme. Following the issues which arose in relation to the non-disclosure of audit findings, a decision was taken to pause the audit.

The Scoping Inquiry led by Dr Gabriel Scally made a number of recommendations, one of which was that “Audit should continue to be an important component of cervical screening as this complies with all good clinical practice. Common, robust and externally validated approaches to the design, conduct, evaluation and oversight of audits should be developed across the screening services.” (Recommendation 26).

As set out in the approved plan for the implementation of Dr Scally's recommendations, the HSE established an Expert Group within the National Screening Service (NSS) to review the clinical audit processes for interval cancers across all screening programmes. This work is ongoing and is expected to be complete by the end of this year, following which its recommendations will be implemented by the National Screening Service.