Cervical Screening Review Cervical Screening in the Southern Health & Social Care Trust – A Cause for Concern for Women
Cervical screening is offered to women aged between 25 and 64 to prevent cervical cancer. The screening test or smear test, detects early pre-cancerous changes in cells that line the cervix. Most changes are caused by persistent infection with high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Northern Ireland has a Cervical Screening Programme which is for women who have no symptoms of disease. All women registered with a GP in Northern Ireland who fall within the screening age range are automatically invited to go for a screening test. Women aged between 25 and 49 are invited every three years and women aged between 50 and 64 are invited every five years.
The Southern Health and Social Care Trust provides a Cervical Cytology Service as part of the Northern Ireland Cervical Screening Programme.
In July 2022, senior laboratory staff told the trust’s management team that they had concerns about performance in some steps of their laboratory’s screening system.
To fully investigate these concerns, the trust commissioned the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath Consulting) to carry out an independent assessment of its cervical screening services from 1st January 2008 and October 2021.
As a precautionary measure, the trust is carrying out a review of the results of some patients who had cervical smears analysed by the trust during this time.
It is anticipated that approximately 17,500 smear tests will be reviewed and if necessary, some women may be required to have smear test repeated.
The review aims to identify any potential errors and improve the accuracy of the cervical screening results,.
This review represents a significant step towards improving women’s health and ensuring the accuracy of screening results.
Not surprisingly many women are concerned about the quality of care which they have received and the potential adverse consequences arising as a result.
We at PA Duffy solicitors are here to offer you tailored, expert advice.
Are you concerned about issues such as:
Misinterpretation of smear test results;
Failure to properly follow up and review abnormal findings;
Failure to effectively communicate with patients.
If you have any concerns regarding the cervical screening review in Northern Ireland, or have been affected by any of the above, please get in touch with our expert medical negligence team and they will be on hand to answer any questions, as well as provide expert guidance, tailored to your individual circumstances and situation.