Taoiseach says Government is going to "make sure we establish the facts"

The Department of Health has this evening confirmed that a senior medical team has been sent into Cervical Check to take charge of the programme.

They say any woman who may have not been told that her case has been audited has been informed - or will be informed after the weekend.

A helpline number has also been launched which will be operational from 9.00am tomorrow morning on 1800-45-45-55.

It comes after Health Minister Simon Harris said he currently can't have confidence in the managers of the screening programme.

He said earlier: "I have full confidence in the screening programme. I think that's important to say.

"It's so important that people use the screening programme: it saves lives, it has detected cancers, and it has helped reduce the rate of cervical cancer.

"Truthfully, in answer to your question, I can't say that I do currently... and that's why I have ordered a review."

Simon Harris said he can't have confidence in the managers of the programme

It is amid revelations that more than 200 reviews of tests suggested women with cervical cancer should have received 'earlier intervention'.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he thinks most of the affected patients have since been informed, adding that they are investigating that and have written to doctors.

"In terms of individual personnel, like I say, the minister has initiated a review - I don't want to be condemning any individual at this stage without knowing the facts.

"But we are going to make sure we establish the facts of this affair - and we want to make sure as well, as a Government, that something good comes of this".