CervicalCheck see 180 samples expire in capacity issue 1 month ago

CervicalCheck see 180 samples expire in capacity issue

Test samples will need to be resent.

The National CervicalCheck Screening Service has been left with 180 samples expiring after a capacity issue caused them to go out of date.


RTÉ News has also reported that the women will now be informed that they will need to be retested, and should hear this week, along with their GPs also being contacted.

Out of the 180 cases, the HPV virus was picked up in the samples but they had not been sent for cytology exams within the 42 day timeframe.

According to RTÉ, the HSE has said that the issue occurred "because of a delay in a sample processing centre due to Covid-19 restrictions."

CervicalCheck, however, has told patient support groups that this can happen and there will always be cases of expired samples, but the risk to women is very low.

The older system previously used was replaced in March of 2020 and it is the new system that this issue that arisen under, with this system screening for the HPV virus which can lead to cancer.

The error was first picked up at a testing facility in Santry in North Dublin after a quality assurance test.


CervicalCheck is expected to tell women affected that the virus was found in their sample but they will need another test to be carried out as the original was allowed to expire, and it will then be sent on to cytology for further examination.

This fresh test will need to be done at least three months after the initial sample was taken to allow time for cell re-growth.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Nóirín Russell, clinical director for CervicalCheck, said that the new samples these women must supply will be fast-tracked through the system.

GPs are now being asked to contact their patients affected directly to explain what is happening, as well as patient organisations being giving clarity on the news.


Russell added: "We felt because it was more than the average and was increasing [this] was an issue, we felt it was important to prepare the women before the letters went out."