Varadkar To Issue Apology For CervicalCheck Disasters

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The Taoiseach will issue an apology to the women impacted by the CervicalCheck programme failures in the next Dáil term.

Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris met with members of the 221+ support group earlier, where a number of issues regarding the national screening programme were discussed.

The meeting was held a day after a rapid review found over 4,080 women had delayed test results communicated to them as a result of an IT problem at US lab, Quest Diagnostics.

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Minister Simon Harris described the meeting as ‘very useful’ and says the government will continue to engage with patient advocates going forward.

This was the first meeting to discuss the issue and was attended by Lorraine Walsh and Stephen Teap, who are patient representatives on the CervicalCheck Steering Committee and members of the 221+ support group.

Mr Teap’s wife, Irene, died from cervical cancer in 2017.

It is expected that a State apology will be made in the Dáil at some point after it resumes late next month.

In a statement after today’s meeting, the 221+ patient support group said a full apology “is only possible with a full understanding of what one was and is responsible for”.

The group said: “Today’s meeting is the beginning of a new dialogue which is now more properly and fully informed in that regard by the work of people like Dr. Gabriel Scally and, more recently, Prof Brian MacCraith which uncovered the shortcomings that led to this catastrophic systems failure.

“Our objective for an apology is that it begins a healing process for all those impacted negatively by CervicalCheck. Today’s discussions embraced that principle and were approached in a positive and constructive manner which we hope will now move to a public conclusion in a timely manner.”