Scally report on cervical screening puts many previous reports to shame

Sadly, the redolence of ‘whole system failure’ identified suggests we have not seen the end of the scandals

Dr Gabriel Scally (centre) with Stephen Teap, whose wife died before she was told her smear test had been wrongly interpreted, and Lorraine Walsh, who received an incorrect smear test. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Dr Gabriel Scally (centre) with Stephen Teap, whose wife died before she was told her smear test had been wrongly interpreted, and Lorraine Walsh, who received an incorrect smear test. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

After the launch on Wednesday of the Scally report and the round of media interviews that followed, Gabriel Scally had dinner in Dublin with Vicky Phelan and Stephen Teap. Phelan told him she thought she might owe him an apology. She reminded him of an incident early in the summer, soon after she had defied a gagging order and broken open the cervical screening scandal, and within weeks of Scally having been appointed by the Government to conduct his scoping inquiry.

Phelan, whose cervical cancer was diagnosed as terminal, had been on the train from Limerick to Dublin for treatment when she read a newspaper article about how Scally had said his report would take longer than had been anticipated.

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