For most women, having a routine smear test can be a worrying time and once the test is complete, waiting several days for the results can be difficult. However, after receiving the ‘’all clear’’ it is only natural to forget about the test until the next time it creeps round, three years later.
For 17 women in Essex, the experience has been even more difficult. After initially being given the all clear and informed that their results were normal, they have now been informed that the results were wrongly reported and in fact they had abnormalities.
The women had all been tested at a lab run jointly by Southend, Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals, and a private firm. Issues were identified in the cervical screening lab service provided by Pathology First and an independent screening service was brought in to re-test the samples. The service is jointly operated by the Hospitals and Integrated Pathology Partnership Limited.
Of the 17 women who need further investigation, nine have been contacted for rescreening and eight have been referred for further tests. The Trust has now published advice on its website which states;
‘’You may have read in the media that a re-screen is currently taking place of a number of cervical screening tests. This is because an issue was identified in the cervical screening lab service provided by Pathology First following a routine Public Health England Screening Quality Assurance visit in June 2017.
An investigation was immediately launched and it was agreed that 2,500 samples should be reviewed from the period April 2016 to September 2017, from women that were aged between 24 and 29, for whom it was their first smear test, and a small number of women in their 60’s for whom it was last smear test.
Of those 2,500 samples, 900 have been reviewed so far.
All the women who have so far been identified as needing to be seen again have been notified and their GP informed.
Women whose negative result has been confirmed after re-screening will not be contacted as their result has not changed.
We understand that this is a potentially worrying time for the women involved and would like to reassure all women covered by the locally provided cervical screening programme that this was an isolated incident.’’
As with many of these cases, inaccurate reporting and errors are fuelled by a lack of resources, training and experience, and this is leading to a growing number of negligence claims.
Devonshires Claims has extensive experience of managing clinical negligence claims, particularly relating to delayed or inaccurate diagnosis. If you or a member of your family has suffered as a result of negligent treatment Devonshires can provide support and assistance.
If you wish to talk with a member of our team, please get in touch with Jeanette Van-Cauter, a Chartered Legal Executive in our Medical Negligence Team.