Tuesday 19 June 2018

Women who suffered delayed cervical cancer diagnosis to receive €2,000 in 'immediate ex gratia' payment

  • 209 women who suffered delayed cancer diagnosis as part of CervicalCheck scandal are to be given one-off payment of €2,000 from the State
  • Interim report into the controversy has recommended 'an immediate ex gratia' payment
  • 'This payment would not be a bar to further payment in due course' - Health Minister
Vicky Phelan and Emma Mhic Mhathúna
Vicky Phelan and Emma Mhic Mhathúna
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

THE 209 women who suffered a delayed cancer diagnosis as a part of the CervicalCheck scandal are to be given a one-off payment of €2,000 from the State.

An interim report into the controversy has recommended that "an immediate ex gratia" payment be given to every woman impacted, including Vicky Phelan, or to the next of kin of those who have died.

The Cabinet has today approved the payment after Health Minister Simon Harris briefed colleagues on the initial findings made by Dr Gabriel Scally.

Speaking this afternoon, Mr Harris said: "This payment relates to addressing any financial obstacles women might encounter in having their voices heard as part of his work.  It would not be a bar to further payment in due course."

Stephen Teap and Vicky Phelan. Photo: PA
Stephen Teap and Vicky Phelan. Photo: PA

Dr Scally’s first report makes six recommendations relating to how best to support women affected by the ongoing scandal and improve the information available to user of the CervicalCheck service.

Aside from the compensation, he now plans to hold "structured conversations" with each of the women impact who wish to have their experience documented.

Dr Scally also recommends:

  • The Provision of a more comprehensive guide to the CervicalCheck screening programme online.
  • That the information statements provided to women about the limitations of the tests should be more explicit about the possible reasons why screening might miss abnormalities that are present as these can result in the development of cervical cancer.
  • That the information for women accompanying the consent form should guarantee that they will have full and open access to their cervical screening record on request.
  • That the information for women accompanying the consent form should guarantee that should there be a problem or error of any significance with the screening or reporting process, open disclosure of all the details will take place in a timely, considerate and accurate manner.

Mr Harris said the UK expert found the provision of information to women in Ireland who take part in screening tests "is comparable with that available elsewhere and in some respects is better".

Vicky Phelan. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Vicky Phelan. Photo: Fergal Phillips

"He also found that the process of completing a consent form at the time of screening is a major strength of the Irish programme," the minister said.

"However, he does make a number of important recommendations to improve the information provided to women, including strengthening the statements on the limitations of screening. I will immediately ask the HSE to implement the four recommendations related to this."

Although Dr Scally has provided an opening report on schedule it is expected that he will not be able to meet the end of June deadline for a final submission.

The minister said that the inquiry will need to examine the facts and get answers quickly for Irish women, while also identifying issues that may merit a further full statutory investigation.

Vicky Phelan and Stephen Teap, husband of the late Irene Teap. Ms Phelan and Ms Teap both received erroneous results from the
CervicalCheck screening programme. Photo: Brian Lawless
Vicky Phelan and Stephen Teap, husband of the late Irene Teap. Ms Phelan and Ms Teap both received erroneous results from the CervicalCheck screening programme. Photo: Brian Lawless

"I’m very pleased that Dr Scally’s work is progressing and he has already come to me with a list of recommendations which will improve the information provided to women who take part in our screening service and help support those who wish to participate in the Scally process. 

"Dr Scally has assured me that he will continue to provide reports as they are completed so that we can continue to provide answers as soon as they are established."

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