Sunday 18 August 2019

HSE keeping 'us out of loop' on smear test glitch, says activist


Seeking clarity: Stephen Teap has questioned when the HSE first knew. Photo: Frank McGrath
Seeking clarity: Stephen Teap has questioned when the HSE first knew. Photo: Frank McGrath
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

CervicalCheck campaigner Stephen Teap said patient representatives are "still out of the loop" and have "zero confidence" in the health chiefs after learning of a computer glitch that meant hundreds of women did not get their smear test result.

The HSE last week ordered an immediate independent review of the glitch, which saw around 800 women who underwent CervicalCheck screening not get their results.

Mr Teap, from Carrigaline, Co Cork, will mark the second anniversary of the death of his wife, Irene (35), on July 26.

Ms Teap, a mother of two, died from cervical cancer after receiving two false negative tests.

He said that due to the latest error, there had been a return to the "eroding of trust in the system" and he wanted answers on who knew what and when.

Despite months of working as a patient representative with the HSE, due to the latest revelation, Mr Teap admits his, as well as public confidence, has been further dented.

"For me, it's about sitting down in front of my children in years to come, to explain what happened here and what changed and will this ever happen again," Mr Teap said of his battle to improve women's health care.

"There's absolutely no way I'll walk away from that until it's achieved."

He said he was determined to help "fix" the problems within CervicalCheck.

"We were told the Department of Health were only told on Wednesday (of the glitch) and I didn't believe that to be the case," Mr Teap told RTÉ's 'This Week'. "It's being reported they found out on June 25 and if that was true, it means when we sat in the steering committee on June 26, everyone round the table would have been fully aware of the issue but didn't share the information with the patient representatives, or even discuss it at the steering committee, which I find terribly concerning.

"When this (latest revelation) happens, we're back to the eroding of trust in the system," he said.

"We're still out of the loop and have zero confidence...until the HSE involves patient representatives on this issue, and only then, can I say I have confidence this issue is being addressed."

He said patient representatives thought they were "building good relations with the HSE".

But "now we take a massive step back with regards to a communication failure and the secrecy around it", he said.

Irish Independent

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