'More Ambition' Needed As Govt Publish CervicalCheck Review

As the Government has today published a progress report on the review by Dr Gabriel Scally into the CervicalCheck scandal, Sinn Fein have called for "more ambition" and a "clear plan" moving forward.

Minister for Health Simon Harris published the review after the initial Scally Report and subsequent Implementation Plan was launched last year.

Dr Scally has since examined the plan, saying that it represents a very substantial body of work for the Department of Health, the HSE and the National Cancer Registry.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: "I very much welcome Dr Scally's report on the Implementation Plan for his recommendations and his independent view that this Plan is a comprehensive response to the Scoping Inquiry report, backed by the necessary effort and resources to address the issues he identified.

"This Government fully accepted Dr Scally's recommendations, and work is well underway in my Department, as well as in the HSE and the National Cancer Registry, to ensure full implementation so that women can have absolute confidence in our cervical screening service. Screening saves lives and it is essential women continue to use the programme.

"Patients and service users must continue to have an important role in the implementation plan. I have appointed two patient advocates to the board of the HSE, in line with Dr Scally's recommendation. It is imperative the patient's voice continues to be at the centre of everything the health service does."

The Minister has asked Dr Scally to conduct a further progress review during the second quarter of 2019.

Following the new report, Sinn Fein Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that, while some good work has been done to date to implement the recommendations of the Scally Report, more ambition and a clear plan are needed.

The Dublin Fingal representative said: "The CervicalCheck scandal and resulting inquiry by Dr Gabriel Scally rocked the health service and our society to its core. In the aftermath of that scandal, much political capital was staked in the inquiry into the scandal by Dr Scally and the recommendations which it proposed to make sure this would never happen again.

"It is important that Dr Scally's progress report highlights that work is ongoing on many of the recommendations which he stated were necessary to move the health service forward from this low point.There appears to be an appetite to carry out this work. However, it is also clear that there needs to be greater ambition and a clear plan to pursue the implementation of the recommendations."

Deputy O'Reilly added that many of the recommendations are lacking an appropriate plan and resources.

"In many instances, recommendations are being rushed as if this is a race and Dr Scally noted that the Department of Health has few staff for whom implementing the recommendations is their sole job. This is just not good enough, the Department of Health is responsible for driving this change and it should be a central plank of their work for 2019.

"It is also disappointing that the HSE appear to be lagging on the core issue of open disclosure with the previous policy, which has been judged to be deeply flawed, remaining in place.

"This is still quite worrying when we also consider the government is nowhere near progressing the Patient Safety Bill, which still has not even been drafted. Furthermore, it is equally frustrating that the recommendations on outsourcing, a practice of which there is still significant questions to answer over its role in the CervicalCheck scandal, will not report be addressed until later this year.

"There needs to be a clear plan with the necessary ambition and resources so the recommendations of Dr Scally can be implemented with clarity and purpose for the benefit of the health service and patients in the long term."


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