Monday 24 June 2019

'Doctors should apologise to women' - Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Collins
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Collins
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that doctors who kept information from women affected by the cervical cancer scandal should apologise in person.

He agreed with the finding by Dr Gabriel Scally in his report that some of the treatment of women "bordered on misogyny".

Mr Varadkar said there must be a "grace, compassion and open disclosure" in the health service. He said legislation for mandatory disclosure alone won't bring this about, saying that a voluntary open disclosure policy is already in place and was "botched" in the cervical cancer cases.

He said there needs to be cultural change and training for staff on how to break bad news similar to that provided to younger medical professionals.

Mr Varadkar said: "There's certainly a degree of misogyny... there is an attitude among some health care professionals and it's a very old fashioned attitude that if something bad has happened it's OK not to tell the patient because it wouldn't make a difference anyway and it might just upset them more. That's a really wrong attitude."

He said it's never the medical professionals' call to make and patients have a right to information about their health.

Mr Varadkar said that the Government and HSE have already apologised to the women affected.

"What now should be done as recommended by Dr Scally is women being offered individual meetings with consultants who had the information and didn't pass it on to offer that apology in person," he added.

Irish Independent

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