DOZENS of women have been told mistakes were made with their smear tests after they were wrongly given the all clear.

NHS England has now confirmed a total of 64 women had to be retested after failings at a laboratory.

An investigation was first launched after Public Health England raised concerns following a visit to the Pathology First lab in Bentalls Basildon in 2017.

Scrutiny of 2,500 supposedly negative samples from women aged 25 to 29 and those over 60 revealed 31 had wrongly been given the all clear. The discovery lead to the further testing of another 2,022 negative samples. NHS England has now revealed 33 of these tests were also wrongly analysed as normal.

In addition, a total of 122 tests were found to be inadequate. No women have received a diagnosis of cervical cancer following re-examination of their samples or repeat screening.

Basildon Hospital and the Pathology First service have thoroughly investigated this incident. They claim improvements to internal processes have been made and the lab continues to work with NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Public Health England Screening Quality Assurance Services.

Pathology First was launched as a joint venture by Southend, Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals and private company Integrated Pathology Partnerships in 2014.

An improved method of cervical screening is being rolled out.

Dr Pam Hall, NHS England’s screening and immunisation lead and incident panel chairman, said: “The investigation into this incident is now closed. We have contacted all women whose test results changed and they have received appropriate further investigation. No women have been diagnosed with cervical cancer following the re-examination process.

“Primary HPV screening will be rolled out across the whole of the East of England from July. It is a more effective screening test, which is already available in some areas.”