I propose to take Questions Nos. 439 and 440 together.
Earlier this year, the HSE completed a report which provides a breakdown of the laboratories in which the smear tests of the 221 women involved in the CervicalCheck audit were analysed. A supplementary report was also completed at the request of the 221+ Group, which sets out the breakdown over time. The reports have been shared with the 221+ Patient Support Group and with members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health.
As outlined in previous responses to the Deputy, it would be expected that false negatives would have occurred in all labs contracted by CervicalCheck since its inception. In recognising the serious consequences that screening failures have for affected women, the RCOG Expert Panel also recognised the inability of cervical screening to prevent all cases of cervical cancer. The Panel acknowledged that screening failures are, unfortunately, inevitable given the limitations of cytology-based screening and should not be taken to suggest the programme overall is not working.
The performance of laboratories used by CervicalCheck has been analysed and compared by Dr Scally and that performance has been found to be within the quality standards required and expected. The RCOG Expert Panel also found that the CervicalCheck programme is working effectively and, crucially, that women can have confidence in the programme.
In regard to the Deputy's question of 5 February, I can confirm that the person with appropriate expertise referred to was in the context of the laboratory audit report.