61 women from the Western Trust Area are to undergo repeat cervical smear tests following “variances" were detected in initial tests, that were originally screened between April and June of last year.

In a Western Health and Social Care Trust statement, released today, it said:

"This 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. The Western Trust immediately set up a review team, alerted the Public Health Agency and Department of Health and initiated the review process”.

Dr Dermot Hughes, Medical Director of the Western Trust, said:  

“The women affected will have received letters inviting them to contact their GP to arrange a repeat smear test. This does not necessarily mean that the results of their initial test was wrong; the repeat test is a precautionary measure to provide reassurance that all women are being followed up appropriately.

“I understand that this may cause worry and inconvenience for the women affected and I sincerely apologise for this. 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.

Those women affected have at this point received letters advising them to contact their GP to arrange a repeat smear test.

86 women in total were affected, 61 of them are from the Western Trust area, 8 women from the Belfast and South Eastern Trust areas and 17 women from the Republic of Ireland.

The Western Trust has advised the affected women that if they have any concerns or want further information, they should contact the Western Trust’s Laboratory Department on 028 7161 1350, from Tuesday 5 February to Wednesday 13 February between 9am to 5pm.