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CervicalCheck Audit Update

Friday, 4th May 2018

The HSE Serious Incident Management Team has been working to respond to the failings revealed by the CervicalCheck audit.  This report will be compiled daily at 4.30pm to outline and provide a progress update on the response to this situation.

CervicalCheck carried out an audit of women who had been diagnosed with cervical cancer over the last 10 years. The audit happened after their cancer was notified to CervicalCheck. Not all of these women were told about the audit or that, in some cases, the audit found their screening test could have provided a different result and recommended earlier follow-up.

1. Contact with women directly affected

Hospitals have been working since the SIMT was established to contact all the women affected and to discuss the audit with them.

Cases where the audit showed their test could have provided a different result: 209* women
Contact made to date with: 196 women /families

*The work of the SIMT to review information available has identified an additional woman that requires follow-up.

Most women have at this stage been contacted and meetings either held or arranged to discuss the audit and the response.   As some women are out of the country or not contactable, this record of contacts will be updated after Tuesday May 9th.

2. Women diagnosed with cancer but not notified to CervicalCheck

The HSE is working with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland and the Department of Health to identify any other women who had cervical cancer during this time, who may also have had a CervicalCheck test.  Reconciliation of data on relevant cases is currently ongoing between CervicalCheck and NCRI.

3. Contact from women concerned about the CervicalCheck audit

This week women in Ireland have been understandably worried following the failures in communication about this audit. An information line was provided to women from April 28th, and women were offered the facility to receive a call-back from a member of our clinical staff.


28 April 29 April 30 April 1 May 2 May 3 May 4 May Total
Calls Answered 866 1,076 1,891 2,109 1,991 1,619 824 10,376
Call  back requests 744 935 1,725 1,473 1,327 849 279 7,332
Avg. wait times 7:28 7:06 17:26 2:55 3:40 0:41 0:16

The service provided on our information line and waiting times have improved steadily during the week, but our call team remain extremely busy, and our priority is women with specific clinical queries or a history of cervical cancer.  Calls are being returned to women following a careful exercise of checking records, checking data quality and assigning calls to health professionals.  To date, 797 calls have been returned to women. The available team of health professionals available to return calls has increased each day and calls will be returned throughout the coming weekend and the following week.

Public Information - Advice and Support for Women 

We have been working to address the worries that have been created by this audit, and while our information line is available for specific queries, we have very clear advice for women who have had a CervicalCheck test and previously received a normal result.

The clinical advice is that women who have had normal test results in the past can continue to participate in the cervical screening programme according to their normal schedule.  We are working to provide information to women across a range of alternative channels to assist those whose query can be answered without the need for them to call the CervicalCheck information line.

Since we began measures to provide alternative channels of information, the proportion of callers having their information needs met and not requesting a call back has dropped significantly.

Text messages issued to women who called the Information line
Approx. 7000 SMS issued May 3
Visits to CervicalCheck.ie      135,146 since April 26
453,700 page views, 13,350 checked the register
Top Sources of traffic to cervicalcheck.ie Organic searches, social media, news sites like thejournal.ie
Video advice for women with normal results
Featuring Dr. Peter McKenna, Consultant Obs/Gynae. 
Views: 4,068

Facebook Activity:

Posts from CervicalCheck/HSE: 

Comments on page: 

Private Messages: 


800 comments reviewed by HSE Comms

160 all replied to by HSE Comms

Twitter Activity:  33 Tweets since Friday 27th April
53,209 impressions
4,834 engagements
Google Search Ads: 3120 Impressions and 500 clicks

 Health Professional Information - Advice and Support for Women

The clinical advice is that women who have had normal test results in the past can continue to participate in the cervical screening programme according to their normal schedule, and women with a history of normal test results are advised to read the information on cervicalcheck.ie and then make contact with their GP if they remain concerned. CervicalCheck has issued an update to GPs and smear-takers participating in the programme, and to colposcopy clinics and cancer centres nationwide.

Information for GPs and Smeartakers Published on cervicalcheck.ie May 2
Posted to GPs/Smeartakers May 2 and 3
Updated Q&A and Advice Sheet for Women being published on cervicalcheck.ie May 4
Information for Colposcopy Clinics and Cancer Centres Circulated by email May 3
Advice Sheet for Women Being published May 4 on cervicalcheck.ie and circulated to Advocacy Organisations

Information for women who are concerned about their smear test results can be found here.


Last updated on: 04 / 05 / 2018