€2.5m settlement for terminally-ill woman whose cancer was missed

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The Department of Health said in a statement this evening: "For any woman who has had a CervicalCheck smear test and where her GP feels she should have a further test as part of her reassurance, the Minister has asked CervicalCheck to make the necessary arrangements, including payment provision".

Afterwards, Vicky said the money would be used to prolong her life.

The revelations came to light after Ms Phelan, 43, was awarded €2.5 million after her 2011 smear test was wrongly deemed clear.

By the time she had another smear test in 2014 she had cervical cancer.

Speaking on Highland Radio, Jolene McElhinney said: "What appears to have happened in these (Donegal) cases and there's a similar thread running through all the cases, is that the smears are undertaken, they are reported upon, and the individual is told they are clear, whereas in fact there are abnormal cells".

It was claimed that subsequent to her cancer diagnosis and unknown to her a review was carried out of previous smear tests from women who had a cancer diagnosis.

The CervicalCheck helpline was set up by Harris following concerns about failures in the National Cervical Screening programme.

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Mr Harris said: 'I could not express confidence in the way in which CervicalCheck is being run in recent days, because there has been an inability to assure women and reassure women of their situation'.

Vicky Phelan, who has terminal cancer, yesterday settled her case against the United States lab that tested her smear sample back in 2011.

"CervicalCheck have identified and have contacted a number of individuals and have notified them that there was incorrect reporting of their original smears".

The court heard that regardless of her terminal finding Ms Phelan is attempting another treatment in the US.

In 2011, Vicky Phelan was told there were no abnormalities found in the smear sample sent to Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc.in Austin, Texas.

It said that despite the controversy, it is "fully supportive" of CervicalCheck, describing it as "the best available measure we have at our disposal to detect cervical cancer early".

"A cancer diagnosis is one of the most, if not the most, hard experiences a person and their family can deal with".