12/06/2018

Women Recalled For Cervical Smears

150 women have been recalled over "possible shortcomings" in their cervical smears, according to the Public Health Agency (PHA).

The tests were carried out by one healthcare worker at two doctors' practices.

One practice is in Belfast and the other is in Newtownabbey.

Dr Tracy Owen at the PHA said: "We understand that the women who are receiving these letters may be anxious, but we would like to reassure them that this is a precautionary measure and would urge them to accept the invitation for a repeat test."

Around 3,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK.

Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan said: "The priority must be to ensure those affected receive a cervical smear test as soon as possible.
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"This is a very distressing situation for the women involved particularly in the context of the recent cervical screening scandal in the south.

"It is important affected patients do not face undue delay and all 150 tests are redone as a matter of urgency.

"The Department of Health and the Trust must be open and transparent in how they manage this recall and on how this situation has come about."

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw said: "While it is the right thing for the Public Health Agency to step in, this is a wider issue because it affects the general public's confidence in diagnostics and testing.

"I would call on the Department to provide assurance that procedures are being carried out correctly, particularly in cases where take-up is low already. If no such assurance can be provided, then an urgent review is needed to ensure that any mistakes are corrected immediately, and thus that public confidence is not further eroded."

(CD/MH)

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