The Health Service Executive is to conduct a new audit of the 221 plus women, or families, affected by the CervicalCheck crisis.

The clinical status work will be carried out by a HSE healthcare audit team.

It is hoped to complete the task before Christmas.

The audit will confirm the clinical position of each of the 221 women, or families, affected by the original audit group.

Damien McCallion, HSE National Director, told the Oireachtas Health Committee today that one of the reasons for the move was the low percentage of the 221 group who have consented to participate in the separate review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of slides.

Around 31% of the 221 group have consented to the RCOG review which is a wider review and will not be completed until 2019.

It is tasked with examining 1,600 cases in terms of a review of the original slides, colposcopy and treatment options but it depends on consent from each woman or family to proceed.

To date, close to 60 per cent of the 1,600 group have consented to this review, Mr McCallion told the Committee.

The RCOG review plans to determine, wherever possible, any failures to prevent cancer, or to intervene at an earlier stage.

It will prepare individual written summary reports for the women affected, setting out the facts and their expert and independent assessment of the facts.

Mr McCallion said that four of the 221 women in the original CervicalCheck audit did not have cervical cancer.

He said they had a different form of cancer.