Government grilled over CervicalCheck controversy after Limerick woman's battle

02 May, 2018, 01:33 | Author: Nina Hammond
  • Government grilled over CervicalCheck controversy after Limerick woman's battle

The examination, conducted by national director of quality assurance at the HSE Patrick Lynch, confirmed 17 of these women have died.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed yesterday, Monday April 30 that 162 women, including 17 who have died, were not informed of a delay in their cervical cancer diagnosis.

"While the health system made serious missteps and its damaging mishandling of communication undeniably failed Vicky, cervical screening has saved women's lives and will continue to do so while women use the programme". The next step will be to publish its Terms of Reference, which will be in about a fortnight's time.

"These are women who have already been diagnosed with cervical cancer and treated as such but their cases have not been included in a clinical audit", Harris said.

HSE Director General Tony O'Brien said he had concerns over what was emerging about CervicalCheck last week.

The Dublin Central TD then went on to highlight the trojan work by whistle-blower Vicky Phelan, whose own smear test was misdiagnosed, leaving her cancer too late to be treated.

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"It's a frightful cancer to get from the point of view of the side effects after treatment, for younger women in particular", she said.

Simon Harris was given media advice for how to comment on the case when it went through court or settled, being told to acknowledge the severe distress this case had put on Vicky Phelan and her family.

Health Minister Simon Harris revealed that that a "potentially considerable number of cases" where women developed cancer were not subjected to an audit.

Ms Phelan said she did not want to see an inquiry or tribunal into the affair that would be dragged out and protracted for years. So this memo, either people didn't know the extent of it, and I find that hard to believe or they just thought this was going to go away, to be honest, and that I wasn't going to preoceed.

He was informed that the National Screening Service and the Head of the National Cancer Control Programme had advised the Department in writing that they did not consider this to be a "patient safety issue" but rather a reflection of the known limitations of the current screening test. "The Taoiseach has offered to meet with me privately, so I said yes in principle, but at the moment I'm trying to concentrate on my health and I have a lot of treatments coming up this week, so I told him I'd get back to him", Ms Phelan said. All of the other women affected would also be informed by today and given an appointment with a clinician free of charge.

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