Women's smear test action begins

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The Independent Online
THREE WOMEN who contracted cervical cancer after the smear test scandal at Kent and Canterbury Hospital started their High Court action yesterday.

They are suing East Kent Health Authority for negligence, saying they developed cervical cancer after wrongful diagnosis of smear tests by the hospital's screening service.

Helen Palmer, 36, from Whitstable, Sandra Penney, 35, from Ramsgate, and Lesley Cannon, 39, from Sheerness, all needed radical hysterectomies.

It is the first such case to come before the High Court. It is being heard by Judge Peppitt at Canterbury and is expected to last seven days.

In 1996 a toal of 91,000 smears had to be rechecked. A later inquiry revealed that up to eight women may have died as a result of poor standards at the unit.

Kent and Canterbury Hospital has refused to compensate the three women in the case. It denies liability.