Councillor Coffey 'outraged' at smear scandal

The Fianna Fail councillor says she is not surprised by the news

Tia Clarke


Tia Clarke


Councillor Coffey 'outraged' at smear scandal

Fianna Fail councillor Emma Coffey has spoken out on the cervical cancer scandal.

Louth County councillor Emma Coffey says the cervical cancer smear test scandal engulfing the Health Service Executive is “outrageous”.

HSE failings were brought to light after a High Court case, taken by terminally ill Limerick woman Vicky Phelan (43), revealed that up to 3,000 women who had cervical cancer were not informed their smear test results - which showed they were in the clear - were inaccurate. Revised test results were then kept from the women for years.

Ms Phelan was diagnosed with incurable cervical cancer in 2017 - her diagnosis followed a false negative result from a cervical smear which was tested in 2011. The HSE eventually confirmed that there were 3,000 cases of cervical cancer notified in the last 10 years to the National Cancer Registry.

However just 1,482 of these cases were reviewed by the national screening programme. Ten more women have since come forward to take legal action over their smear test results.

Fianna Fail councillor Emma Coffey said: “I’m not surprised by the news. And that fact that the HSE are drip feeding the information to the public is insulting.

"How many more new cases are we going to hear about? It doesn't give the public much confidence in our health system.”

“Every woman I know is thinking of getting their smear test redone. People can't get through to local doctors because so many women are ringing in. Everyone is outraged. I'm absolutely outraged myself.

“If it wasn't for the bravery of Vicky Phelan, we’d never know about all this.” Councillor Coffey also referred to a case of a woman who discovered she had cervical cancer whilst pregnant a year after she had her smear test, but was forced to sign a confidentiality agreement.

“We need an immediate investigation and mandatory disclosure is needed to change the current culture in the HSE.”

Call the CervicalCheck InfoLine on 1800 45 45 55 for information.