A UK based medical expert and a gynaecologist have been tasked with carrying out an investigation – as part of an inquiry into the Cervical Check controversy – which is due to be finished by June.
The inquiry will look at why women weren’t told results of their smear tests were being rechecked and who knew what in the HSE and Department of Health.
It will also examine the Vicky Phelan case and the process of outsourcing smear tests to labs including those the United States.
More than 11 thousand calls have been made by women to the Cervical Check helpline – however around 5000 are still waiting for someone to call them back.
The Cabinet has agreed today to establish a Scoping Inquiry into the issues which have recently come to light in relation to the CervicalCheck Screening Programme.
Dr Gabriel Scally has been appointed to carry out the Scoping Inquiry. Minister for Health Simon Harris said “I gave a commitment that some good would come from this situation and today Cabinet has agreed to establish a Scoping Inquiry into the issues which have recently come to light in relation to the CervicalCheck Screening Programme. We need to examine the facts and get answers quickly for Irish women, while also identifying issues that may merit a further full statutory investigation.
I would like to acknowledge again the tireless efforts of Vicky Phelan. I have briefed her on these developments and I understand that Dr Scally has already spoken with her and will meet with her shortly.
The inquiry will independently examine the facts including details of the non-disclosure to patients relating to CervicalCheck clinical audits and the management and level of knowledge of various parties including, the HSE and the Department of Health. It will also examine the tendering, contracting, operation etc. of the labs contracted by CervicalCheck.
Separately, there will be an international expert panel review led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.
I have also informed Cabinet today of my intention to appoint a new HSE board and introduce legislation to allow this and I have brought to Cabinet my plans on mandatory open disclosure.”