More than 2000 women call Cervical Check helpline

Vicky Phelan with her husband Jim and children Amelia and Daragh

The audit has also found that more than 12 women have died, but it is unclear whether these deaths were due to a delayed cancer diagnosis.

The situation was revealed after a €2.5m High Court ruling in favour of 43-year-old mother Vicky Phelan, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

More than 2,000 women have called the CervicalCheck helpline over the weekend.

It says it will engage with all women still awaiting contact over the audit.

Every woman who had has a smear test can have a re-check if they want it, Harris added. The HSE had sought a confidentiality clause with Ms Phelan as part of the settlement, which she refused.

According to the HSE, nearly 1,500 cases of cervical cancer have been notified to the cervical screening programme, CervicalCheck, since it began a decade ago.

RTE's Morning Ireland programme reported on Monday that around half of the 206 women affected were not told they may have had a delayed diagnosis. However, it has now emerged that this not happen in all cases.

More than 2000 women call Cervical Check helpline

The government is thought to be considering a statutory inquiry into the matter.

"I expect that number to grow, quite frankly, I do expect it to be definitely double digits".

In a statement issued by the Health Service Executive, Dr Flannelly said she was "sorry that recent events caused distress and worry" to women.

The line will open between 9.00am and 6.00pm.

The Chairman of the National Association of General Practitioners, Dr Andrew Jordan, speaking to Kildare Today, says the programme has saved many lives.

"I have chose to step aside to allow the programme to continue it's important work", she said. However this was incorrect and by the time she had another smear test in 2014, she had cervical cancer.

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