Calls for wider cervical cancer inquiry at Southmead Hospital

Julie O'ConnorImage caption Julie O'Connor died from cervical cancer on 4 February

The bereaved family of a nurse repeatedly given the all-clear for cervical cancer are fighting for a wider inquiry into her case.

Julie O'Connor, 49, died on 4 February, after her condition was missed several times at Bristol's Southmead Hospital.

Days before her death, she said: "It's disgusting I have been suffering the way I have and I continue to suffer."

North Bristol NHS Trust said an independent review of her care would start this month.

Mrs O'Connor had a cervical smear test in September 2014 that came back as negative.

Doctors at Southmead said she had another condition known as a cervical ectropion. She was eventually diagnosed three years later by a private consultant.

Image caption Mrs O'Connor was eventually diagnosed with cervical cancer by a private consultant

The family sued North Bristol NHS Trust which admitted liability and offered damages.

Her husband Kevin, from Thornbury, said he believed other cases of cervical cancer in women may have been missed.

"One of the last things Julie said was that she didn't want to happen this to anybody else," he said.

"I've asked the coroners if they would consider an inquiry, not just into Julie's care but back to 2014 to be sure this doesn't have to happen to anyone else and if there are other victims."

Mr O'Connor said he also had concerns about the hospital's review.

"It's not independent because they wrote the terms of reference, the scope is very limited.

"They're looking at doing the review from July 2017.

"The private hospital raised the red flag in March 2017 but this happened in 2014 so we do need to go right back to when it was misdiagnosed."

The trust's medical director Dr Chris Burton said: "We are committed to understanding the full circumstances of the care we provided so we can improve our services for the future."

He added the trust would be "publicly open with the overall findings of the independent investigation we have commissioned".


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