A computer glitch has been blamed for almost 1000 Qld women not getting letters about abnormal pap smear results.

Health authorities are trying to contact almost 1000 women who failed to receive letters warning them about abnormal pap smear results.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg says he only recently learned about a problem with the state’s official pap smear register, dating back to 2006.

But he downplayed the risk to the affected women, saying they should have already been told by their doctors about the results.

“When there are these test results and there is a low-grade abnormality which is detected, it’s usually up to the doctor to notify that woman,” he told ABC radio.

“This process was about making sure we had a second line of certainty and that was a letter to go out to women just in case.”

Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said a computer glitch was to blame and all efforts were being made to contact the women.

Minor abnormalities, involving a change in cells in the cervix, usually corrected themselves, with less than four per cent of cases progressing to a higher grade abnormality, she said.