Saturday 21 July 2018

HSE staff could face dismissal after probe into scandal

John Connaghan, interim director general at the HSE. Photo: Frank McGrath
John Connaghan, interim director general at the HSE. Photo: Frank McGrath
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Health service staff could face dismissal under an investigation set to be carried out in the wake of the cervical cancer scandal.

HSE interim director general John Connaghan said that a "conduct investigation" under the agency's disciplinary procedures was "likely" to take place after an independent review of the controversy was completed.

A review is being carried out by independent expert Dr Gabriel Scally. This is due to be finished at the end of August. The HSE last night said that the scope of any investigation into staff conduct that it carried out would be decided upon after Mr Scally's review.

Sanctions open to the HSE under its disciplinary procedures range from oral and written warnings up to dismissal.

During a meeting of the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee, Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry asked Mr Connaghan if anyone had been "held to account" at the HSE over the cervical screening scandal.

Mr Connaghan said the HSE was currently considering how it would put in place a "conduct investigation" after the Scally review was completed.

He later confirmed that these investigations were carried out under the HSE's disciplinary procedures.

Mr Connaghan said the HSE would be careful in observing a national protocol agreed with staff representatives for how such probes were conducted.

He stressed: "We will wait until after the Scally review and these remarks are entirely neutral." But pressed further by Mr MacSharry, he said a conduct investigation was "likely".

Under the disciplinary procedures, no decision on sanctions can happen until after a disciplinary hearing with the employee concerned. The employee is entitled to a presumption of innocence.

Irish Independent

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