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Minister’s Statement on Cervical Cancer scandal raises more serious questions

1 May, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking during this evening’s Dáil statements on the Cervical Cancer scandal, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has said that the Minister for Health’s statement that new information had emerged that a number of cases of women with cervical cancer have not been audited raises more serious questions.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The news this evening from the Minister for Health that a number of cases of women with cervical cancer have not been audited reveals another layer to this shocking story and leaves many more questions for the Minister and the HSE to answer.

“The Minister’s explanation of how he became aware of this scandal through a briefing note on the 17th of August does not seem plausible to me. I find it hard to believe that the Minister for Health was not aware of the audits from 2014 and subsequent analysis of the misdiagnosed smear tests.

“Similarly, I find it equally hard to believe that the head of the HSE, Mr Tony O’Brien, only found out about the issue when he heard of Vicky Phelan’s case from the media.

“Given the health service was being sued for a substantial sum of money I cannot believe this scandal was not known at the highest levels. Surely the nature of the case and the cost involved would have sent alarm bells through the HSE, the Department of Health, and indeed government.

“Last week the Minister for Health said he did not have confidence in the leadership of CervicalCheck; however, it will be interesting to hear if the Minister still has confidence in Mr O’Brien given the scale of this scandal.

“No one believes that a health service will be without error or risk – but they do demand that it will show compassion, it will be truthful, and it will be honest.

“That is not what we have got to date.

“The Irish people deserve better than this.  Vicky Phelan deserves better than this.  The victims of misdiagnosis deserve better than this.

“And not only do the women of this state deserve better.  We demand better.”


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