An independent physical review of around 3,000 cervical smear slides, which was due to be finished by May, has not been started yet, the Department of Health has said.

The department said that the “preparatory work ahead of actually looking at the slides, is underway and has been for a number of weeks”.

They said that “required resources are currently being scoped, identified and put in place” by the HSE and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The Royal College is to carry out the review with the help of experts from the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.

The Terms of Reference, which have not yet been published, have been agreed upon, as has its scope.

The department said that a “large body of work” is to be carried out before the slides can be analysed in a laboratory.

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