Almost 90 women asked to repeat cervical smear tests

The Western Trust has asked 86 women to arrange repeat cervical smear tests
The Western Trust has asked 86 women to arrange repeat cervical smear tests

The Western Health Trust has asked 86 women to arrange repeat cervical smear tests following a review of tests carried out between April and June 2018.

Dr Dermot Hughes, medical director of the trust, said the repeat test was a “precautionary measure” and “does not necessarily mean” that the results of their initial tests were wrong.

The review was carried out after variances in the reporting of a number of tests were identified during routine performance checks conducted at the trust’s pathology laboratory. These checks are carried out every three months, in line with UK best practice.

The trust set up a review team, alerted the Public Health Agency and Department of Health and initiated the review process.

As a result of the review, 86 women have received letters inviting them to contact their GP to arrange a repeat smear test.

These include 61 women from the Western Trust area, eight from the Belfast and South Eastern Trust areas and 17 from the Republic of Ireland.

Dr Hughes said he was aware the move may cause “worry and inconvenience” for the women affected and offered his apologies.

He added: “I would like to reassure everyone that the samples that were reviewed were a small percentage of those screened and reported between April 2018 and June 2018.

“The stringent quality checks that are in place have reassured us that it was only a certain number of tests within this time frame that were required to be re-examined.”

Sinn Fein MLA Colm Gildernew said he has requested an urgent meeting with the Western Trust.

He added: “In June 2018, 150 women in Belfast and Newtownabbey were also invited to attend for repeat smear test after the Public Health Agency were made aware of concerns identified in April that year.

“As I understand it, the Western Trust’s review of cervical smear tests concerned those in April and June 2018, but it is not clear if there is a connection with what happened in Belfast and Newtownabbey in June and this recent action by the Western Trust.”