I propose to take Questions Nos. 108, 124, 379 to 381, inclusive, together.
Since the inception of the cervical screening programme, CervicalCheck has been notified of a total of 1,482 cases of cervical cancer. The 221 figure is the number of women within the 1,482 for whom the clinical audit conducted by CervicalCheck showed a differing cytology recommendation to their original test. I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the number of women among the 221 who come from Co. Louth.
In light of the particular sensitivities surrounding this issue it was decided that written, informed consent will be sought from women or the next-of-kin of women who have passed away, before they are included in the review which will be carried out by the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. This consent process is nearing completion. To date, 1,591 letters have issued to individuals requesting consent to participate in RCOG Review. Consent forms have been returned by 813 individuals (51%), of whom 786 have consented to participate. Within this group, 65 women are among the 221 affected women and families.
In regard to laboratories, it can be noted that each of the laboratories which provides services for CervicalCheck serves a discrete population of women. Individual GP practices, clinics and colposcopy services are assigned to one designated programme laboratory. The samples of all tests taken in those locations are processed in the assigned laboratory. As has previously been stated, it can be assumed that false negatives have arisen in all contracted laboratories due to the limitations of screening and the fact that false negatives are inherent in screening. However, variations arise in relation to the socioeconomic status of populations assigned to each lab, urban-rural breakdown, overall volume of tests performed by the lab, the percentage of tests which are received from colposcopy clinics (this would result in the lab receiving a disproportionate number of high grade lesions) and other factors.