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State Claims Agency must act Fairly and Ethically in dealing with Medical Negligence Cases – Senator Rose Conway-Walsh

8 May, 2018 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has questioned the manner in which the State Claims Agency take on cases from the HSE. 

Speaking at the Finance Committee, Senator Conway-Walsh questioned the Director of the State Claims Agency about how his organisation liaises with the HSE regarding litigation involving patients.

Senator Conway-Walsh said:

"There appears to be no strong lines of communication between the State Claims Agency and clinical and programme directors within the HSE. 

"This lack of communication can be used as a way of deflecting responsibility. We are over a week into this particular scandal and we still have very little accountability.

“In his opening Statement Mr Breen gave the impression that the State Claims Agency was an innocent bystander caught up in a dispute between Vicky Phelan and the laboratory in question. 

"This is certainly not the sentiment shared by Mrs Phelan or her legal team.

"We also learned today that all the 10 cases currently with the State Claims Agency are connected to two American laboratories.  

"This again indicates that the Fianna Fail/PD government in 2008 should have heeded medical expert advice not to outsource this vital screening service.

"More generally, the Agency has tried to narrow the picture here today. 

"The issue of cases is not only about the accuracy of smear test results but now is also about the failure to notify patients whose results were misread, misdiagnosed and that result never having been communicated to them. 

"I sought assurances that the agency will not challenge cases brought by women on that basis and that the outcome of Vicky Phelan's case should inform future decision making around the approach of the state and organisations engaged by the state in processing such cases.

"It is vital that any affected women have the guarantees that no action will be taken against them. 

"Helplines and all relevant information must remain open and accessible until all affected women have been informed as to what action they need to take."

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