The Minister for Health has said he wants to establish an independent commission of inquiry to examine the CervicalCheck controversy in September.

Simon Harris made the remarks in the Dáil in response to concerns raised by Labour's Alan Kelly.

Mr Kelly said he had a suspicion that the scoping exercise being undertaken by Dr Gabriel Scally will "creep and creep and creep".

He said he wanted a guarantee that Dr Scally would conclude his work by August, because a failure to do so would not be "doing the best" by the women involved.

Minister Harris said he wanted to make it crystal clear that there would be a commission of inquiry and he was committed to establishing it in September.

Earlier, the Health Service Executive told the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee that the number of women or families affected by the controversy would increase beyond 209.

There was a further audit of 46 cases, of which 12 are close to completion, and the women will be told first of the outcome.

HSE Director General John Connaghan said the executive met Dr Scally yesterday and is guaranteeing future provision of documents to his inquiry to his satisfaction.

Concern has been raised that Dr Scally had been provided with scanned versions of documents that had originally existed in electronic form. Such scanned documents are not searchable.

Speaking at the PAC, Mr Connaghan said that due to technical limitations, it was not possible to provide all documents in a searchable format, but the HSE was working on this issue.

Mr Connaghan said that documents relating to the contracting of laboratory services require legal clearance in some cases, or the consent of other parties, prior to release.

The HSE has committed to providing women access to their clinical records within 30 days but he said in some cases a manual search of records was going back years, potentially at a number of sites.

Mr Connaghan said the HSE was assisting Dr Scally with contacting all 208 of 209 women or families affected by address, email or phone.

Ciarán Breen, the head of the State Claims Agency, told the PAC the agency was told by John Gleeson of CervicalCheck in April, in a tele-conference, that all women whose smears had been audited had been informed, or assumed to have been informed.

Mr Gleeson told the committee he accepted it was not a valid assumption because CervicalCheck had not confirmed that all doctors had informed all women.

He said he did not intend to cause any confusion or lack of clarity for the committee and apologised if this was the case.

The HSE said that the CervicalCheck helpline had received more than 24,000 calls, but the volume of calls was significantly reducing.

It said that the 208 women contacted were being provided with practical supports.

The HSE said it understands that the Department of Health was concluding the contract for the UK review of smears of women who were part of the CervicalCheck audit and those registered with the National Cancer Registry.

There are now 28 CervicalCheck screening legal proceedings, or letters of claim with the State Claims Agency.

Mr Breen said there were also two potential claims, and one settled case - the Vicky Phelan case. He said the agency was working to try to ensure mediation to avoid cases going to court.