Chair of CervicalCheck inquiry receives records from HSE

Dr Scally had earlier criticised alleged lack of cooperation on provision of documents

Dr Gabriel Scally had earlier criticised the HSE for a continuing delay in providing documentation to his investigation.  File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Dr Gabriel Scally had earlier criticised the HSE for a continuing delay in providing documentation to his investigation. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

 

The chair of the scoping inquiry into the CervicalCheck controversy has said his inquiry now appears to have access to documentation provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Dr Gabriel Scally had earlier criticised the HSE for a continuing delay in providing documentation to his investigation.

In a short statement on Friday morning, Dr Scally said: “As of today, it appears we now have access to documentation being provided to us by the HSE in a searchable format and with all redactions, apart from those relating to patient confidentiality, removed. We are now checking this for completeness.”

Dr Scally said this was “very welcome progress and will assist us in moving forward with our inquiry in a more time efficient manner.

“I would like to acknowledge the co-operation of all the HSE staff who have assisted in making this information available.”

Dr Scally had told The Irish Times he was “disappointed at the pace and format in which information is being provided” to his examination into the withholding of information from women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

While he insisted the organisation was co-operating and progress was being made, Dr Scally said the level of co-operation has not altered over the past number of weeks.

Almost a month ago, the chair of the scoping inquiry confirmed the HSE had not given documentation to his inquiry in a timely fashion and a significant proportion of the correspondence had been provided in a nonsearchable format and in some cases was difficult to read.

Speaking on Thursday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it was “not acceptable” that Dr Scally was facing resistance from State organisations.

“The position from Government in terms of what we are saying is that we have asked Dr Scally to carry out this inquiry, he is doing it on behalf of the Government. Anyone who is not co-operating with him is not co-operating with Government. I don’t think I can be any more clear on this,” he told reporters.

The inquiry was launched after it emerged a review of the cases of 209 women diagnosed with cervical cancer concluded they should have received earlier medical intervention.

It emerged on Thursday the number of women affected by the cervical cancer controversy had increased to 221 from 209.

It was also revealed that the planned review of about 3,000 smear test slides had yet to start, despite Government pledges it would be completed by the end of May.