Govt Have 'Questions To Answer' Following New Evidence In CervicalCheck Scandal

The government must answer "urgent questions" raised by new evidence revealed by an investigation of the ongoing CervicalCheck scandal.

Stephen Donnelly TD, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, made the call after the Public Accounts Committee received three memos sent to the HSE from CervicalCheck in March and July of 2016. The memos relate to the CervicalCheck audit done in 2014. They focus on the negative publicity that could entail when women were told that their earlier screenings had missed warning signs of cancer.

Deputy Donnelly said: "The release of these memos poses serious questions for the Government. This drip drip feed of information is showing that the Government is clearly not on top of the issue, feeding into widespread anger and worry across the country. The memos released today provide another example of the patient being lost as a system tries to protect itself.

"It is critical that public confidence in the national screening programmes is high. That is not being helped by the HSE, which seems to have mismanaged its whole approach. I said last week that the Director General of the HSE should step down, without prejudice, with immediate effect. I put that to him directly this week at committee, and in light of the memos released today, I am repeating that call.

"The Government must clarify whether it has confidence in the Director General, something they have studiously avoided doing to date. They have other questions to answer too: Who specifically were the memos sent to in the HSE in 2016? Who read them? What response issued to CervicalCheck and in whose name? Who saw the memo in the Department of Health, and when? Was there any communication to the HSE on foot of it? Did anyone bring the memo, or the issue, to the attention of either of the Ministers for Health in 2016 or their advisers?"

Deputy Donnelly said that the memos show a "consistent approach of containment"

He concluded: "Language is used such as 'pause all letters', 'seek legal advice', 'prepare media plan' and 'continue to prepare reactive communications response for a media headline that "screening did not diagnose my cancer"'.

"The Government has a lot of explaining to do. It must work to restore confidence in the national screening programmes, and being honest about its own confidence in the Director General would be a good place to start."


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 July 2014
National Oversight And Audit Commission Established
The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan has announced the establishment of the National oversight and Audit Commission, (NoAC), for the local government sector.
17 November 2015
Energy Minister To Attend International Meeting In Paris
The Minister for Energy, Alex White, is in Paris to attend a ministerial meeting of the International Energy Agency. It is understood the French government decided to proceed with the international meeting despite the terrorist attacks across the city on Friday.
21 September 2015
Govt Determined To Tackle Organised Crime
The Irish Government remains determined that organised crime, from whatever quarter and in whatever manifestation, continues to be tackled head on, Minister Flanagan has said ahead of fresh talks in Northern Ireland.
05 June 2014
Govt Urged To Reopen 'Hooded Men' Case
The government has been urged to reverse the decision of its Attorney General and appeal to the European Court of Human Rights for the reopening of the 1970s 'Hooded Men' case, which alleges torture by the British government.
20 March 2014
Sinn Féin Back Directly Elected Dublin Mayor
Sinn Féin has announced its backing of the proposal for a directly elected Dublin mayor. "Sinn Féin has long argued for directly elected mayors and we believe that this is an important part of the much needed reform of local government in the State," said former mayor for South Dublin County and Sinn Féin Councillor Cathal King.