Friday 23 August 2019

Tribunal of compensation to extend to all women caught up in last year's CervicalCheck controversy


Eilish O’Regan

A tribunal of compensation is to extend to women outside the 221 group who were caught up in last year’s CervicalCheck crisis.

The Government today approved the general scheme of the proposed legislation which will establish a tribunal to hear legal claims brought by women and families affected by the last year’s smear test controversy.

These include the 221 group who developed cervical cancer after getting a wrong smear test result.

Health Minister Simon Harris said it will also extend to women outside this group whose smear tests are currently being examined in an independent review by the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

All the women who bring cases will need to prove the wrong smear test result was due to negligence and was not just due to the limitations of screening.

The tribunal to be heard in private is meant to be an alternative to court but women will still be able to go to court if that is the route they want to take.

The proposed legislation arises from recommendations made by Mr Justice Charles Meenan in his report on an alternative system for dealing with claims arising from CervicalCheck, he added.

He said that as well as the proposed tribunal, work is advanced on an ex-gratia scheme for women affected by the non-disclosure of the CervicalCheck audit and this will be open for applications shortly.

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