Smear test recall for 1,000 North East women

About 1,000 women have been called back to a North East clinic for repeat smear tests over fears original tests were carried out incorrectly.

Health chiefs have traced the patients - some dating back to 1988 - who may have had flawed tests at the Bewick Crescent surgery in Newton Aycliffe.

NHS County Durham stressed the recalls were "precautionary" and it was unlikely cancer cases had been missed.

It also said repeat test results would be available within two weeks.

Anna Lynch, the organisation's director of public health, said: "We identified that some cervical smear tests taken at Bewick Crescent surgery may not have reached a satisfactory standard.

"As a precaution, we have written to approximately 1,000 women inviting them to attend for a repeat test to confirm the results of their original test.

'Low risk'

"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 test and have set up extra appointments so they can be seen quickly.

"I would like to apologise to those women involved for any inconvenience or concern that this recall has raised, but would like to reassure them that this decision was taken in their best interests, is purely a precautionary measure and the risk to those women is very low."

She said the organisation was following Department of Health guidelines by reviewing all tests carried out since the national screening programme began in 1988.

Ms Lynch added: "We have followed a very comprehensive and stringent process to make sure that we are not inviting any women back unnecessarily.

"A proportion of women have been excluded from the recall because they do not need another cervical screening test."

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