Expert Panel Review of Cervical Screening

The Minister for Health has established an independent Expert Panel Review of Cervical Screening as part of the investigation into issues relating to the CervicalCheck Screening Programme.

The review will be carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) with expertise also sourced through the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.

The purpose of the review is to provide women who participated in the national CervicalCheck screening programme and who developed invasive cervical cancer with independent clinical assurance about the timing of their diagnosis and treatment.

The panel will endeavour to determine, wherever possible, any failures to prevent cancer or to intervene at an earlier stage and will prepare individual written summary reports for those affected, setting out the facts and their expert and independent assessment of those facts.

A report will be made to the Minister for Health for publication when the review is complete. It will include recommendations, where appropriate, with the aim of improving care for women.

Following initial engagement between the Department and the RCOG it was evident that a review of this scope and complexity would take a number of months to complete.  It is estimated that it will take at least 6 months to review all the necessary information, undertake the required analysis and produce individual written reports on each case reviewed.

In light of the particular sensitivities surrounding this issue the CervicalCheck Steering Committee has decided that written, informed consent will be sought from women or the next-of-kin of women who have passed away before they are included in the review.  The Minister for Health established the CervicalCheck Steering Committee to provide oversight and assurance on the implementation of key decisions taken by Government in relation to CervicalCheck.