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Concerns raised in this newspaper by columnist Dr Christine O’Malley regarding the possibility of Quest Diagnostics using labs in Mexico for analysing cervical smears were investigated in recent months by Dr Gabriel Scally.
Dr Scally’s Supplementary Report of the Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Screening Programme cited a column written by Dr O’Malley in November 2018 and concerns raised by Deputy Alan Kelly (Labour) in the Dáil in October.
In her November column for the Medical Independent, Dr O’Malley wrote: “I still want to know if cervical smears from Ireland went to the Quest lab in Mexico. I’ve written to Dr Gabriel Scally about it.”
The supplementary report outlined the investigation that Dr Scally conducted regarding these concerns.
“While some of the rumours regarding the use of laboratories in Mexico and India to perform CervicalCheck screening were of a general nature (many of them circulating within the UK pathology community), the Scoping Inquiry received some very specific information regarding the alleged use of one or more laboratories in Mexico by Quest,” according to the report.
It also noted that Quest had “denied the suggestion that laboratories in Mexico or India were used to undertake cytology screening as part of the CervicalCheck contract”.
“Having considered all of the facts at my disposal, I accept Quest’s assurances that no work in relation to CervicalCheck was undertaken in Mexico or India.”
Nevertheless, elsewhere the report found that Quest did use more of its US laboratories for CervicalCheck work than had been originally thought.
Dr Scally’s report found that the number of laboratories involved in CervicalCheck work was greater than previously known. However, there was no evidence identified to suggest the laboratories had provided a service which did not meet acceptable standards in their country of operation.