Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly has said the HSE must explain why it did not inform the Department of Health that there was a problem with the issuing of 800 CervicalCheck screening results to women. He also said it is imperative to know whether there are any clinical implications as a result of this IT glitch.

Deputy Donnelly questioned the cynical nature in which the information came to light, given that the HSE knew about the problem in June, but only informed the Department yesterday, following questioning from RTÉ News.

He explained, “Back in June the HSE became aware of an IT problem in one of the laboratories used to carry out cervical screening. The problem resulted in around 800 women not getting their screening test results – a very worrying situation.

“I understand the majority of tests were primarily repeat HPV tests which were done because previous tests were carried out outside of the recommended time frame. In the first instance we need to know if there are any clinical implications to this. Did any of the delayed test results indicate abnormalities or the need for further investigation or medical treatment?

“I find it astounding that rather than informing the Department of Health straight away, the HSE clearly held off until it was raised directly with the Department. After everything that has happened with CervicalCheck you would think lessons on openness and transparency would have been learned, apparently not.

“This is particularly hard to take for women for whom this was already a retest and for those who have already waited up to eight months for their results. They are being let down time and again. Why did the HSE not come clean and say there was an IT problem the second they found out about it? It might have, at the very least, alleviated some of the anxiety some women were undoubtedly experiencing.

“I want to know why this happened in the first place, ‘IT glitch’ is too broad a term and how can we be sure it won’t happen again?I want to know why the HSE were not upfront about it and I want to know why they are continuing to let the women of Ireland down”, he concluded.