Head of CervicalCheck inquiry criticises HSE over delays

Scoping inquiry chair Gabriel Scally not happy at information’s ‘pace and format’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: said it is “not acceptable” Dr  Gabriel Scally is facing resistance from State bodies. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: said it is “not acceptable” Dr Gabriel Scally is facing resistance from State bodies. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The chair of the scoping inquiry into the CervicalCheck controversy has criticised the Health Service Executive for a continuing delay in providing documentation to his investigation.

Dr Gabriel Scally has told The Irish Times he is “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 insists the organisation is co-operating and progress is 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.

It appears the position has not changed despite several pleas from the Government to co-operate fully with the investigation and pledges from the organisation to do so.

Co-operation issues

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.

Meanwhile, the Government has approved new legislation, the Patient Safety Bill, to introduce mandatory open disclosure in respect of serious patient safety incidents.