Smear audit shows mistake - what can I do?


I met with my consultant on 1 December for my 3 monthly check. She told me my smear audit was back and that my 2013 smear was reported clear incorrectly and that it should have been reported as moderate dyskarosis. 

I have been waiting for the letter to come through in the post to confirm these findings and I received it yesterday. I was expecting to be told one was read wrong so it isn’t a huge shock.

I just wondered if anyone else has experience of this and whether they put in a complaint to the nhs and what result they got?


thank you x 

I sued them and bought a bungalow! Seek legal advice depending on how you feel and how severe your cancer was as a result of the mistake. I can recommnd Fieldfisher legal firm. Good luck xx

Hi Misspell, 

I second what Anna sparkles says & I myself is in the process of doing just that with my local trust. 

This cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet as 'human error. Maybe if mine had been reported correctly at the time I wouldn't be Terminal now. 

Don't even's your life at stake here.

Good Luck

Flo xx


Sorry predictive text.....Hi Misstell xx

I am in the process of sueing the NHS for this too. They incorrectly reported my 2014 smear as clear then when I started bleeding a year later they put it down to being an ectropion for 18 months before I finally went privately and was diagnosed with CC. Unfortunately it had already spread to my bones by then. 

Julie x


Aw thank you ladies for all getting back to me. When I first found out verbally I wasn’t as annoyed as I expected that a mistake had been made but now that I have it in writing I am! I have also contacted my gp to get a copy of the original letter from 2013 with the wrong result on it. 

It is the intense worry and anxiety with diagnosis and continuing worry of recurrence now that has had such a huge impact. Scars fade and I was lucky that I just needed surgery but I know all of that could have been avoided.

I just don’t know if I will be as much of a case for it seen as I have had less treatment than you guys. I have contacted a firm in Scotland as the one you recommended Anna Sparkles only deals with rest of UK. 

Can I ask how long the process took and does the NHS fight hard against you? It all seems quite scary and from what I have read it can be a very lengthy process.


I never even considered suing the nhs. Maybe because my cancer was treated with  surgery. Maybe because i work in the nhs and know how tough it is. I just feel it won't change anything. I am angry. The past couple of weeks I've felt very angry indeed (all the smear test campaign stuff doesn't help.) Smears missed problems in 2009 and 2012. Colposcopy also missed it in 2015, I was incorrectly treated for ectropian. 

If it had a greater impact on my long term health or life expectancy I'd probably feel different though and take action.

Hi Blackberry

I am a Nurse and was reluctant at first to cause a fuss but I also had an incorrect negative smear in 2014 that was in fact severe dyskaryosis which meant when I started bleeding a year later the gynaecologists treated me as an ectropion for 18 months before I finally had enough and went privately and was diagnosed CC. Unfortunately it had already spread to my bones then. If the smear had been done correctly I wouldn’t have had a fraction of the treatment I’ve had and be incurable now. If we don’t make a fuss then the way things are done won’t change and more women will suffer and lose lives uneccesarily. I have always given 100% care to my patients and I have been shocked at how badly some departments are run. There is no room for human error in smear reading the protocols should be in place to  ensure mistakes can’t happen. To me this is certainly a ‘Never Event‘. 

I am trying to make the people who made huge mistakes with me learn from their mistakes and hopefully save other women going through what I am, it’s not about the money at all xxx


Whilst I absolutely value the nhs I do agree with you Jooles that I feel if I don’t make a fuss will procedures ever change and will it just happen again to other women. To me whilst I feel fortunate everyday I didnt need more treatment I do feel that the mental scars will take a very long time to fade. I also still have abdominal pain most days which affects my day to day life. In addition I have bladder pain and I think the possibility of recurrence is always there even if it’s quite small. 

In addition to my smear misreading I also felt that the general communication and some of the care whilst in hospital was below standard. I have been advised to put in a complaint firstly and I hope to at least get an apology and that they can review procedures. I will continue talking to the solicitor and see what the next steps are. 


Good idea. We asked for a root cause analysis to be done so that it would be reviewed by an external team to ensure a thorough review. xx

Ok good to know, thank you x 

You are definitely giving me something to think about. I have been dwelling on it a lot recently. As you say, I can't change my experience but hopefully can improve things for those that come after me. I might contact PALS for a chat in the first instance.


I haven’t had a chance to write my initial complaint yet but hopefully I’ll get around to it. Will let you know how I get on X 

Hi ladies just lookin for some advice ere...I am looking into checkin my last smear results after advice from my consultant and the sponsors of my trial..they have given me no more info ..I think maybe they just want me to do it off my own back..I dunno? How do I go about this? Thanks xx

This has also happened to me 2014 all clear diagnosed cc stage 3b 2017 on review my 2014 smear did in fact show high grade dyskaryosis. Only recently found this out. Had a review 10/08 consultant has taken biopsy as he said thickening of the vagina needs looking at. I'm so scared of reoccurrence just have to wait now. Seems to happening to too many women. 


I was just about to ask if anyone had sought legal advice, and came across your post. I’m defo going to get in touch with the ones you recommended. Xx