Smear test 'missed' Widnes woman's cancer

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Media captionVivien Reynolds said she was concerned the same thing could happen to others

A Cheshire woman diagnosed with cancer was wrongly given the all-clear after a smear test.

Severe risk signs were missed when Vivien Reynolds, 45, had the cervical cancer test in 2008, her legal team said.

When she was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, three NHS reviews of the screening found pre-cancerous cells.

The Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has apologised and said it accepted full liability.

Ms Reynolds' solicitor, Beth Reay, said three separate screeners who looked at the test spotted the pre-cancerous cells, after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

"This wasn't a little slip-up. No reasonable screener would have missed the cancer signs that were present," she said.

'Routine procedure'

Ms Reynolds, from Widnes, said: "Mistakes can happen and not every single incidence of cervical cancer will be picked up by screening, but when the signs are so clear it is very worrying when they are missed.

"My fear now is that the same thing will happen to other women."

She is still receiving treatment and has been told she could have two years left to live.

"I have been sentenced to death and the only thing I can do now is speak out about what happened to me," she said.

An independent expert review concluded if Ms Reynolds was diagnosed in 2008 she could have been treated with a routine procedure and "would have made a complete recovery," the solicitor said.

Mel Pickup, chief executive at Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the trust was "desperately sorry" to hear about Mrs Reynolds' illness.

He added: "We fully investigated the circumstances of Mrs Reynolds smear test report from 2008 and found that her screening test did not identify a problem that might have then been treated earlier.

"We have accepted full liability for this and apologised."

Women who take the test are warned it may miss a small number of abnormal cells which do not look "much different" from normal cells or due to human error.

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