CervicalCheck scandal


Sir, – Our Constitution provides us with three branches of government — the Oireachtas, the judiciary and the executive. However, in recent days, we have discovered a fourth unofficial branch – the doctors.

It now appears that the chief medical officer at the Department of Health tells the Taoiseach what to do (but doesn’t tell him what’s going on). And Dr Gabriel Scally feels entitled to direct Oireachtas committees to stop their work.

Medical professionals are not endowed with special constitutional status. The Public Accounts Committee should continue its inquiries into the cervical cancer screening scandal. – Yours, tc,


Carrigart, Co Donegal.

Sir, – The chief medical officer’s statement that the Department of Health was “far from an organisation that was unwilling to seek proper disclosure to patients” doesn’t bear scrutiny, unfortunately, given the failure to introduce a mandatory disclosure system.

The Department of Health was lobbied on the issue of voluntary disclosure, resulting in the late decision to abandon a policy of mandatory disclosure. The Department of Health now needs to reveal who exactly lobbied it, and on what basis the decision to abandon mandatory disclosure was made. Additionally the Department of Health should state whether it sought the views of patient groups prior to this decision.

With recent events underlying the need for urgent reform of our health service, it is inappropriate for unnamed vested interest groups to be lobbying behind closed doors on health policy. Certainly it is hard to believe that any patient group would not support mandatory disclosure. – Yours, etc,


Sandyford, Dublin 18.