Wednesday 23 January 2019

Talks to extend cancer screening service deal are at 'critical stage'


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

Eilish O'Regan

Talks between CervicalCheck and the laboratories carrying out screening have reached a "critical stage", a spokeswoman for the HSE has said.

The US-owned labs are demanding that the State takes over liability for legal cases arising out of false-negative smear test results which were found to have been negligently read.

It is part of a deal to extend their service from October when their contracts end.

"Intensive negotiations have been ongoing for a number of weeks in relation to the extension of the current contracts. These negotiations are at a critical stage and every effort is being made to ensure continuity of our vital cervical screening," a spokeswoman said yesterday.

It comes as the report of Dr Gabriel Scally into the CervicalCheck scandal, which is being examined by the Attorney General, is due to go to Cabinet and be published tomorrow.

Dr Scally, who is expected to be critical of how CervicalCheck delayed telling women it did internal audits reviewing tests after their cancer diagnosis, met Health Minister Simon Harris yesterday.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said victims at the centre of the scandal would be briefed in advance on the report.

CervicalCheck victim Vicky Phelan and Stephen Teap, who lost his wife to the disease, are among a representative sample of the 221 victims, rather than the full group, invited to the private briefing by Dr Scally on the report.

Irish Independent

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