Tuesday 22 May 2018

Vicky Phelan says Simon Harris called her personally to apologise

Ms Phelan appeared on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ 1

Vicky Phelan on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ
Vicky Phelan on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ

Sean Nolan

Vicky Phelan, the terminally ill woman whose incorrect cancer test result has shone a light on the CervicalCheck programme, has revealed that Minister for Health Simon Harris called her personally to apologise.

Ms Phelan revealed on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ 1 last night that Minster Harris rang her to personally apologise for what happened to her.

"As soon as I heard the voice I knew who it was and he said 'hi Vicky, it is Simon Harris here'," Ms Phelan explained.

"'I just wanted to call you personally to apologise for what has happened to you but he also wanted to thank me for still encouraging women to go for smears and for promoting the Cervical screening programme' he said.

"I said to him basically look, what has happened to me is awful. I do believe in the programme, cervical smears do save women's lives and what I don't want to happen is more women diagnosed with cervical cancer and I thought it was important that I come out and say that because I think people would listen to me rather than the HSE at the moment."

During Ms Phelan's interview the news broke that the Clinical Director of CervicalCheck, Dr Gráinne Flannelly, was to resign her position.

Ms Phelan made a clenched fist while the crowd broke out into spontaneous applause.

Dr Flannelly said she had decided to step aside to allow the service continue its important work.

"I would like this evening to announce that I have taken a decision to stand aside from my role as Clinical Director of CervicalCheck with immediate effect.

"I am sorry that recent events caused distress and worry to women. I have decided to step aside to allow the Programme to continue it's important work.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the doctors, nurses and programme staff of CervicalCheck for their continued hard work and commitment towards delivering a first-class service for the women of Ireland."

Earlier the Minister Harris said he had lost confidence in senior management in CervicalCheck.

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