We are pleased to note that the long-awaited outcomes of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) review of the smear tests of over 1,000 women are soon to be communicated to those women.
A package of advance information will be arriving with the women involved this week which outlines a number of options from which each woman can choose how they wish to receive their report.
A dedicated HSE information help line is now available on Freefone 1800 832191 to assist women select the option that best suits them. The detailed reporting of results to each woman will then begin next week (September 16). This will be either with a face to face meeting or by mail as women choose.
The HSE has already advised that any woman whose reviewed slides show a significant discordance from her original test results will get immediate access to a package of State supports, including a medical card and counselling.
In parallel, the services of this Patient Support Group (PSG) – 221+ – are also immediately available to any woman whose slides are reported as discordant in the RCOG review. We can be contacted immediately via the 221+ website where there is also a lot of relevant information.
At this point it is important to support the process of communication with the women involved directly and to give them the time and space required to decide what they need. The role of 221+ as a patient support group is to assist anyone affected in securing the supports they require and to work with them over time to manage their needs arising and those of their families.
The women involved in the RCOG process have waited over a year for an outcome from this independent review of the accuracy of the reporting of their previous cervical smears. In bringing that wait to its full conclusion, it is important that they get absolute clarity. The disclosure to women of the RCOG review of their slides is the first opportunity to adopt the ‘Women First’ model of communication that Prof MacCraith recommended in his recent ‘Rapid Review’ of communication by the HSE and the Department of Health with women impacted by the CervicalCheck debacle. On behalf of those impacted we hope this opportunity is taken up and we are committed to doing what we can to support and facilitate that outcome.
Padraig McKeon –firstname.lastname@example.org / 087 2312632