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Explainer: CervicalCheck scandal - what happens next?

 

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Stephen Teap and Vicky Phelan have both fought a public battle to get better outcomes for women suffering from cancer diagnoses. Picture: PA

Stephen Teap and Vicky Phelan have both fought a public battle to get better outcomes for women suffering from cancer diagnoses. Picture: PA

Stephen Teap and Vicky Phelan have both fought a public battle to get better outcomes for women suffering from cancer diagnoses. Picture: PA

Last month an investigation into the Cervical Check scandal by Dr Gabriel Scally found that screening services in Ireland were “doomed to fail at some point”.

He said problems uncovered in the wake of the controversy over Vicky Phelan’s court case “are redolent of a whole-system failure”.

The Scally Report included 50 recommendations that Health Minister Simon Harris has committed to implementing.

Here are eight key things, he said must happen:

1) The Department of Health should examine the current arrangements for patients to have access to their hospital medical records so that such access can be achieved in a timely and respectful way.

2) The Minister for Health should consider seriously the appointment of two patient advocates to the proposed new Board for the HSE.

3) A National Screening Committee should be constituted to advise the Department of Health and the Minister on all new proposals for screening and revisions to current programmes.

4) CervicalCheck should collate and publish annual data on reporting rates for all categories broken down by provider

5) CervicalCheck should ensure that its procurement approach maintains a balanced focus on qualitative factors, supplier experience, and innovation, alongside cost considerations.

6) The HSE’s open disclosure policy and HSE/SCA guidelines should be revised as a matter of urgency. The revised policies must reflect the primacy of the right of patients to have full knowledge about their healthcare as and when they so wish and, in particular, their right to be informed about any failings in that care process, however and whenever they may arise.

7) The option of a decision not to disclose an error or mishap to a patient must only be available in a very limited number of well-defined and explicit circumstances, such as incapacity. Each and every proposed decision not to disclose must be subject to external scrutiny and this scrutiny process must involve a minimum of two independent patient advocates.

8) The Department of Health should consult with interested parties as to how women and families who wish to, can be facilitated in meeting with the clinician who was involved with their care and/or disclosure.

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