The number of legal claims against CervicalCheck, the national examination service, has now risen to 369, including 76 cases linked to the psychological impact on the families of women who received an alleged incorrect mutilation result.
The highest number of claims were filed last year, with 103 lawsuits filed, according to figures from the State Claims Agency.
In 2018, when the case of Vicki Phelan was settled in the Supreme Court and it emerged that an internal review of cervical screening was performed on women after they had been diagnosed with cervical spondylosis.
Cancer, 86 claims have been made, as revealed by figures obtained in a parliamentary response by Aontú leader Piedar Tóibín.
Ms. Phelan’s case led to the revelation that only a minority of the women were told about the review or that their screening test could have produced a different result and recommend early follow-up.
Another 52 claims were filed in 2019 and 95 in 2020. Mr. Toibin had asked how many cases had been brought against CervicalCheck and HSE For misreading smear tests.
In its response, the State Claims Agency confirmed that 76 of the 369 claims were “related to psychological allegations made by family members”.
Earlier this month, Dr Nouren Russell, clinical director of CervicalCheck, said she regretted comments she made during a conversation with Mr Toibin in December 2020, and said those comments did not reflect her views today.
In a video chat with Meath TD in December 2020, Dr. Russell said that some lawyers were making “huge amounts of money” from court cases representing women who were screened and later developed cervical cancer.
She said some women have been told “if someone does it right, you won’t have cancer and for the vast majority of women, that’s not the case,” according to the transcript of the private meeting.
In response to the text, Group 221+, which represents women affected by the cervical screening controversy, said the comments “are consistent with what we have heard and felt over the past two years, and it is comforting that the public is now able to see the situations behind the closed doors we have been dealing with.”
“What is happening now as a result of this revelation is a matter for others.
“Our primary goal is to support members’ needs.”
The group emphasized that it fully supports cervical screening and urges women to take advantage of the service.
Public health specialist Dr. Gabriel Scully is expected to provide an update on the progress of his 2019 recommendations for service reform and its future in the coming weeks.
The 2019 report led to a new level of CervicalCheck management. Women’s samples are now being tested for HPV, which prevents more cancers than the previous primary cell test.