HSE and State Contradict Each Other on Cervical Check While Holohan Refuses to Apologise" - TóibínAontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called on Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan to apologise to the women effected by the Cervical Check scandal. Deputy Tóibín has also hit out at the content of a letter sent to him by Cervical Check which is at odds with the government's apology.
Deputy Tóibín said:
"There is a contradiction at the heart of Government policy to the women who have been wronged by Cervical Check. This is evidenced by the CMO’s refusal to apologise for his role in the Cervical Check scandal. While many people greatly appreciate the work that the CMO has done in terms of pandemic this should not preclude anyone from asking the difficult questions in terms of Cervical Check. In 2018 Dr Holohan emailed the Minister for Health advising against an external review of the Cervical Check program. In that email he said; “I strongly advise that you do not commit to a review of Cervical Check arising from the recent court case". This was a mistake by the Chief Medical Officer of the country and in fairness to the victims and survivors of Dr Holohan should absolutely apologise".
Deputy Tóibín continued: "There are a number of glaring inconsistencies in the discussion about Cervical Check. Before Christmas I raised in the Dáil the tragic case of Patricia Carrick from Co Galway who passed away from cervical cancer shortly after settling her case against the HSE. In the ensuing weeks I received a letter from the Clinical Director of Cervical Check, written on Cervical Check, HSE, headed paper, which was extremely critical of my Dáil contribution. The letter heavily criticised my Dáil speech. I have no problem with this but for the fact that it took issue with my suggestion that women such as Patricia Carrick were 'wronged'. My use of terms like 'mistake' and 'misreading' was also criticised".
"I subsequently arranged a meeting with the Clinical Director of Cervical Check. Both my PA, and the Clinical Director’s PA were also in attendance at that meeting. In the meeting Cervical Check made the astonishing suggestion that the courts are wrong to be ordering the compensation of these women. The women in question, it was said, were just unfortunate, they weren't wronged. The Clinical Director shared her view that the only people benefiting from these claims are lawyers. She said that these women were being given the 'impression' that they had been wronged".
Deputy Tóibín added: "The problem with this suggestion is that in actual fact these women have had their smear tests 'read in a manner which was neglectful', the courts have ruled that this is the case. Two separate Taoiseach have issued state apologies to the women effected. Dr Gabriel Scally who conducted and produced the report on Cervical Check has said that things did go wrong. Women received incorrect results for their smear tests. Many of them are dying and many have died. This is the reality. But it is a reality that Cervical Check unable to accept. This is a huge insult to the grieving families around the country. Why is an arm of the state continuing to argue with some of these women, even after they have died. Its is grossly insensitive and unprofessional. The government and HSE must immediately clarify that they accept the courts rulings, and the reality that these women were wronged", concluded Tóibín.