“Taoiseach’s apology to Carrick family is welcome, but an emergency Dáil debate is urgently needed on Cervical Check” – Tóibín
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has welcomed the Taoiseach’s apology to Damien and Patricia Carrick following Patricia’s victory in the High Court where it was determined that a smear test she took in 2016 was ‘read in a manner which was neglectful’, but has called for an emergency debate on the topic in the Dáil.
Deputy Tóibín said:
“The Taoiseach’s apology yesterday was timely, and I commend him for his engagement with the Carrick family in recent weeks. The Taoiseach’s predecessor promised a few years ago that no terminally ill woman would be put through the courts ever again, and yet we’re seeing these cases week in, week out. In the case of the late Ruth Morrissey she was dragged all the way to the Supreme Court and won her case by defeating the State’s appeal mere days before she passed away. The Taoiseach seems to suggest that the Cervical Check tribunal will bring about a fulfilling of that promise, but the establishment of the tribunal must be done in a fair way, with full and honest consultation with Vicky Phelan and the 221+ group”.
Deputy Tóibín continued: “I also believe that Patricia Carrick's case brings to light some very serious concerns regarding the government’s handling of the 2018 Cervical Check scandal. This is a matter which I raised in the Dáil recently. Patricia Carrick went through the Cervical Check system for years before she was diagnosed but was consistently told that her tests were clear. Because she had not been diagnosed with cancer by the time the audits/ review was announced, her slides were left on the shelf and were not re-examined by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. This was because under the terms of reference provided to RCOG by the government in 2018 only the slides of women who had been diagnosed with cancer were reviewed”.
“If the government in 2018 had told RCOG to review all slides of all women, then perhaps they would have noticed the flaws with Patricia’s 2016 slide and her cancer could have been caught earlier. Instead what happened was that her slide wasn’t reviewed and Patricia did not discover she had cancer until 2019. She is now terminally ill. It is phenomenal to think that abnormalities were missed in a smear test Patricia took in February 2019, a full four months after the death of Emma Mhic Mhathúna and almost a year after the scandal first broke. Given that RCOG has found a 30% mistake rate among the samples they have reviewed, it is vital that the government now announce a review of ALL previous tests, to determine if there are women who now need to be urgently contacted".
"I have sought a meeting with Cervical Check in order to highlight these concerns. Given the high mistake rate identified by the RCOG we must make sure that a significant sample of these screening slides are rechecked”, concluded Tóibín.