Family of Nurse Julie O’Connor Call for Cervical Cancer Inquiry at Southmead Hospital


In April last year we wrote about our client Julie O’Connor, a nurse whose cancer went undetected by North Bristol NHS Trust for three years despite a smear test, biopsies and referrals from her GP.

By the time cancer was diagnosed it was too far advanced to treat. Sadly, Julie passed away on February 4 this year.

Throughout, Julie’s concern was that other women may also have received an incorrect diagnosis and that an inquiry should be carried out. Her last video message to that effect, recorded in her final days, was shared widely on social media and picked up by national newspapers and the BBC.

In her absence Julie’s family will pursue her wish that a full investigation be carried out.

Although an independent review is to open later this month Julie’s family are concerned it will not be comprehensive enough as it may not go back to 2014, when the first opportunity to provide a diagnosis was missed.

Jackie Linehan of Enable Law represented Julie in her medical negligence claim against the Trust, and believes the investigation is a positive step.

Jackie said: “Julie concern was to ensure other women who may have had false negative smear or biopsy results should be checked, to prevent a wider spread of their cervical cancer and to see if her case was a one off or not. She also wished to remind women to attend their regular cervical cancer screening.

“It is welcome news that Southmead have agreed that an independent review of Julie’s care is necessary.

“Hopefully, as part of that review, the independent reviewer will consider whether the decision by Southmead Hospital not to undertake a wider review of pathology services is a decision which stands up to scrutiny’.

Enable Law will continue to provide updates as they arrive. To read more about our Medical Negligence services please click here.

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