Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Stephen Donnelly TD says the Government still has many questions to answer over the handling of a litany of errors relating to the cervical cancer screening programme.
Deputy Donnelly has called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to answer questions in the Dáil next Tuesday.
Deputy Donnelly said, “It’s completely unacceptable that women affected by these screening errors continue to be left in the dark. Minister Harris must set out in detail what steps he is taking to ensure all affected women are informed immediately. He has to ensure that they will get priority follow up from the HSE, especially with the scheduling of urgent follow up appointments.
“People must have full trust in our national screening programmes. They provide an invaluable service and safe lives. It’s important that we learn from the mistakes made in this case and ensure they are not repeated.
“Minister Harris must also set out the full extent of his knowledge of this situation and that of his predecessors in the Department. The court case that gave light to this situation has been ongoing for a long time. The discovery process highlighted that there were serious issues with the HSE’s handling of this case. It is hard to believe that the Minister wouldn’t have knowledge of the background to this situation. That begs the question why action wasn’t taken before now to deal with the serious consequences that have arisen.
“It’s completely unacceptable that it has taken up to 3 years to deal with this and the HSE still can’t tell us if the 206 women have been informed of the full facts surrounding their case. Clinicians haven’t provided the necessary answers but accountability lies with Minister Harris and ultimately the Government.
“Furthermore, the Taoiseach should explain why he decided to row back on the promise he made in 2015 to introduce mandatory disclosure for cases such as this. Fianna Fáil believes that mandatory disclosure must exist under law. The Tánaiste Simon Coveney has now indicated that this will happen, but we need a clear statement determine if this is the case.”