Concerns have been raised over the outsourcing of Irish women's smear tests to unapproved labs in the US and the UK.

The second Scally report into the CervicalCheck controversy has found that the level of outsourcing was ‘greater than originally thought’.

It has emerged that smear tests were sent to 16 laboratories, rather than the six labs which were originally thought to be carrying out screening.

The scoping inquiry, led by Dr Gabriel Scally, found that screening was carried out in two labs in Ireland, two in the UK and 12 in the US. Some of the laboratories where the tests were outsourced to no longer exist.

Dr Scally said it was unacceptable that the laboratories did not inform the Scoping Inquiry of all locations used at the first possible opportunity.

He said that the lack of transparency to Irish women was “entirely unsatisfactory”.

Dr Scally pointed out that the use of these additional laboratories did not result in a reduction in the quality of the screening provided to Irish women.

Meanwhile, the HSE has made a deal with Quest Diagnostics in the US to process the backlog of CervicalCheck slides. Women have been waiting as long as 36 weeks for results, since there was a sharp rise in re-screening after the CervicalCheck controversy came to light last April.