Thursday 23 May 2019

CervicalCheck victims gather to give personal accounts to the Scally inquiry

Inquiry chief Dr Gabriel Scally. Photo: Mark Condren
Inquiry chief Dr Gabriel Scally. Photo: Mark Condren
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A group of about 100 victims of the CervicalCheck scandal, including relatives of those who died, gathered at a private location yesterday to give confidential accounts of their ordeal to inquiry chief Dr Gabriel Scally and his team.

Dr Scally had issued the invitation to women who developed cervical cancer after getting a wrong smear test result as well as to families of the bereaved.

They were asked if they wanted to give an individual account of their experience.

At least 209 women and families have been affected by the scandal that was exposed by Limerick mother-of-two Vicky Phelan and her legal team led by solicitor Cian O'Carroll.

Ms Phelan is to be honoured at with an honorary doctorate at the University of Limerick on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, correspondence provided to the Public Accounts Committee yesterday indicated the HSE is offering Dr Scally open access to its computer system.

An interim report from Dr Scally two weeks ago revealed he had received more than 4,000 documents but they were difficult to read and search. The letter to the committee from HSE official Ray Mitchell said there was follow-up to a proposal by its members to give Dr Scally open access.

The HSE director general John Connaghon requested "that contact be made today with Dr Scally" regarding the proposal.

He said Dr Scally had been contacted and "he has raised a number of questions on how it might work and we are examining these and will be reverting to him on them".

Dr Scally intends to produce a number of reports based on individual terms of reference before delivering a final document. An audit is under way of other women who developed cervical cancer after getting a wrong test result to find out if they were the victim of a mistake.

A separate examination of the cases of another 1,600 women who developed cancer in the past decade is to be carried out by external experts.

Irish Independent

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