€2.5m settlement for terminally-ill woman whose cancer was missed

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Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced plans to organise repeat smear tests at the cost of the state following the news of several misdiagnosed cervical cancer cases.

'For any woman who has had a CervicalCheck smear test and where her GP feels she should have a further test as part of her reassurance, the Minister has asked CervicalCheck to make the necessary arrangements, including payment provision, ' the Department said in a statement on Saturday. Limerick, was given less than a year to live in January.

Ms Phelan, of Carrigeen, Annacotty, Co Limerick alongside her better half Jim Phelan has sued the Health Service Executive and Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas, over a spread test taken under the National Cervical Screening Program CervicalCheck and dissected in the U.S. research facility.

On Thursday the HSE said that since 2008, a total 1,482 cases of cervical cancer have been notified to the CervicalCheck programme.

Responding to the controversy, the Irish Cancer Society extended its sincerest sympathies to Ms Phelan and her family.

In 2011, Vicky Phelan was told there were no abnormalities found in the smear sample sent to Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc.in Austin, Texas.

Vicky said "There are no winners here today".

"We need people to have absolute confidence in our screening programmes - and I have confidence in it: it is a progamme that saves lives".

It is yet another crisis to emerge under the tenure of Mr Harris amid concerns of how it was allowed to escalate with potentially long-term implications for the faith women have in the service, which is aimed at preventing cervical cancer.

The statement continued: "CervicalCheck has detected and treated over 50,000 pre-cancerous changes in women, reducing their risk of cervical cancer by more than 90%".

"A cancer diagnosis is one of the most, if not the most, hard experiences a person and their family can deal with".

In relation to queries from RTÉ News, as to whether there are any other cases of missed cervical cancer diagnoses, the HSE said it was not possible to get this information at this time of the evening.