Number of cervical cancer serious adverse incidents extends well into double figures

After uncovering that serious adverse incident reviews have being established for at least 13 different cases of confirmed cervical cancer diagnosis between 2019 and 2022, DUP Assembly Member Diane Dodds has said:

By Diane Dodds MLA

Upper Bann

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“Health Minister Robin Swann has confirmed to me by letter that the number of cervical cancer cases over a four-year period being investigated as serious adverse incidents is between 13 and 19.

The majority are in the Western Trust where 11 cases have been identified. There are between one and four cases in each of the Southern and Belfast Trusts with none identified in the other two Trusts. These cases which are being treated as serious adverse incidents were found to have unsatisfactory reviews with either false negative results or significant management or process issues. Those numbers may well increase.

I want to pursue whether Trusts have all used precisely the same approach, and if it is possible that could explain the marked variation in the Western Trust. I understand that an external review of the slides reported as SAIs in the Western Trust is being carried out by the Welsh cervical cytology service. It is also the case that the 11 figure for WHSCT only covers 2019 to 2021 and does not yet include 2022.

The ongoing cervical screening review has been hugely distressing for so very many women and their families, with some have their lives turned upside down. The whole episode has also hit confidence in healthcare and particularly screening, which is having to be rebuilt.

Robust lessons have to be learned to ensure something like this cannot happen again, with those responsible held to account”.

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