“Dr Scally’s report lifts the lid on what is an exceptionally paternalistic culture within elements of the medical profession. It is incumbent on the profession to commit to tackling these issues, which have clearly caused so much additional and needless suffering for patients and their families.

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has strongly endorsed the calls of women and families affected by the CervicalCheck crisis for swift implementation of the detailed recommendations of the Scally report published today.

Deputy Shortall said:

“Since this scandal broke, women and families affected have said they wanted to get to the bottom of what went wrong and why, and Dr Scally’s comprehensive report thankfully answers many of their questions.

“Dr Scally’s inquiry found problems everywhere he looked, with many indications that the screening programme was ‘doomed to fail’ at some point. He chronicles the lack of proper governance of the health service, a lack of attention to quality assurances and risk management, and an utter lack of accountability within the HSE and in fact throughout the health system. This is a shocking state of affairs which puts our entire health system to shame.

“It is utterly clear that what’s now needed is swift action to restore full confidence in the cervical cancer screening programme. For that to happen, there can no delay by the government in implementing the report’s fifty recommendations, which amount to an entire reboot of how the national screening programme operates and is managed and governed. It must also address issues of procurement, tendering and auditing.

“In particular, there must be rapid progress in introducing a statutory duty for individual doctors to disclose full information to patients. We need to see legal sanctions for individuals who hide information from patents or keep them in the dark. These should be introduced as part of the Patient Safety Bill which is currently before the Oireachtas.”

Deputy Shortall added:

“I also fully support the calls made by Dr Scally as well as Stephen Teap and Lorraine Walsh today for the affected women and their families to receive proper apologies from individual doctors for how their cases were so badly mis-handled.

“Dr Scally’s report lifts the lid on what is an exceptionally paternalistic culture within elements of the medical profession. It is incumbent on the profession to commit to tackling these issues, which have clearly caused so much additional and needless suffering for patients and their families.”

Deputy Shortall said it was unfortunate that Dr Scally’s report does not contain any information on the accuracy rates of the various labs which carried out screening on behalf of CervicalCheck.

“The only lab referenced in the report is CLP in Texas which has not been used since 2013, and Dr Scally’s report is very damning of the practices in this company. The questions and suffering do not end here. Women affected by this scandal and their families must still wait several more months for the report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists which is inquiring into clinical failures in relation to their diagnosis and treatment.”

ENDS

12 September 2018