"Cervical Check Tribunal Doomed to Fail" - Tóibín
The Health Minister has confirmed to the Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD, following a written Parliamentary Question this month, that a total of eight claims have been made to the Cervical Check Tribunal.
Speaking in reaction to these statistics, Deputy Tóibín said:
"Yesterday we learned that in the past six months a total of 72 new cases against Cervical Check have been notified to the State Claims Agency. A number of these cases are being taken by families of women who have already died. The tribunal is forcing women to choose between taking cases now or waiting so that their families can take cases after they have died. The tribunal doesn't appear to allow women to return to the tribunal should they experience a recurrence of cancer. The Minister was warned by the 221+ group about these issues on many occasions but he choose to ignore the warnings and plough ahead with the establishment of a tribunal which I now believe is doomed to fail".
Deputy Tóibín continued: "Following questions from Aontú, the Minister confirmed that only eight individuals have made a claim through the tribunal structure, while 72 have opted to go through the legal system (it has been reported since we posed the questions that this figure may have since risen to ten). It is clear that the tribunal has failed. Women do not have faith in the tribunal and are thus being forced to go through the legal route and the courts. The Minister previously extended the period for which claims could be made, in a bid to encourage a greater number of claims. However, some time has passed since then and he still refuses to accept that this tribunal is far from ideal and is not working. In his response to my question he boasts that "further interest has been expressed... and it is anticipated that additional claims will be received".
"The Minister is clearly out of his depth on this one, and I believe he should apologise to the 72 individuals/ families who are going through an adversarial legal route, despite promises from his predecessor and current government colleague, Leo Varadkar, that this would not be the case. Many of these women are dying, they must be communicated with clearly and swiftly - time wasting does not serve them well. The Minister must admit that he's gotten the tribunal incredibly wrong, that he should have listened to the 221+ group and stop playing politics with this devastating debacle", concluded Tóibín.