The Mail Online has recently reported that over 1,200 women who underwent smear tests at the Brough and South Cave medical practice in Hull during the last 13 years have been advised they will need to have their smear tests retaken. This was after it was discovered that a staff member had not been following the correct procedure and had only been taking cell samples from one part of the cervix, rather than taking cell samples from the whole of the cervix.
NHS choices describes a cervical smear as “a method of detecting abnormal (pre-cancerous) cells in the cervix in order to prevent cervical cancer. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina.”
Dr Tabitha Tinker, a senior partner at Brough and South Cave Medical Practice, has advised "The risk that any cervical abnormalities have not been picked up is very low but, as a precaution, we have invited the women involved to attend for a repeat smear test.”
Dr Cheryl Lyons, a partner of the South Cave Surgery has confirmed that the staff member is no longer conducting smear tests and stated "We had discussions with this person and asked if they had any difficulties and that person was genuinely not aware that things were not as they should be”.
Dr Tim Allison, director of public health for NHS East Riding of Yorkshire, said: "We would like to reassure women the reason we are offering them a repeat test is to confirm the results of their original smear tests."
A cervical smear test is an important procedure to detect abnormal cells which can then be treated (if necessary) before the cells become cancerous. It is very concerning that this procedure was carried out incorrectly for this length of time, without being picked up. Hopefully, as a result of this error, none of the women involved have had abnormal cells missed. However, if this has occurred they may well have a claim for medical negligence.
By clinical negligence solicitor, Helen Shaw