President of the Epidemiology and Public Health section of the Royal Society of Medicine Dr Gabriel Scally; Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene died of cervical cancer;  and Vicky Phelan, who has terminal cancer; a tweet from Mr Teap

This morning.

Further to leaks from Dr Gabriel Scally’s report on CervicalCheck to The Irish Times and RTE – in which it’s reported Dr Scally does not recommend a commission of investigation into the smear test scandal…

Simon Carswell, in The Irish Times, reports:

Minister for Health Simon Harris will seek to bring forward a briefing for those affected by the CervicalCheck controversy by 24 hours after they expressed anger at leak of parts of a report into the affair.

Mr Harris said it was “extremely regrettable” that parts of 200-page scoping report by Dr Gabriel Scally, the public health veteran, were published in The Irish Times and RTÉ ahead of the publication of his report tomorrow.

It was reported today that Dr Scally believed a commission of investigation was not required into the controversy, despite the stated view by Mr Harris that a commission be held into the controversy.

He said the report should be published and the views of “a very eminent expert” asked to investigate the controversy should be considered.

“All along I wanted them to be briefed first.”

…The Scally report, a 200-page document that investigates why women diagnosed with cervical cancer were not told about an audit revealing false negative smear tests, concluded a commission of investigation was not needed.

CervicalCheck: briefings on Scally report may be brought forward (The Irish Times)

Harris still plans to have CervicalCheck commission (RTE)




Minister for Health Simon Harris

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris was interviewed on RTE’s Morning Ireland by Dr Gavin Jennings.

Mr Harris told Dr Jennings he “truthfully” doesn’t know who leaked the report and that he intends to find out who leaked it.

From the interview:

Dr Gavin Jennings: “You made it crystal clear a number of months ago that there would be a Commission of Inquiry. In fact, to quote you, ‘I’m concerned there seems to be a view that there may be a commission or there won’t be a commission. Let me be very clear: there will be a C Commission of Inquiry and I would like to set up that inquiry in September’. are you going to set up a Commission of Inquiry?”

Simon Harris: “Well that is the factual position. The Government made that decision and as I heard [Labour TD] Alan Kelly correctly say the Opposition agreed with that decision and indeed those impacted called for that. So that remains the position. Obviously, when you ask an expert to do a report and remember this wasn’t just one very eminent doctor. It was Dr Scally with three other doctors, a senior counsel, a barrister at law – they’ve reviewed over 12,000 documents, they’ve visited the labs, the labs that have been much talked about and speculated upon, they’ve stood on the floors of those labs. They’ve interviewed all the key people.

“Obviously, he has arrived at  viewpoint, it’s not, as you correctly said earlier, it’s not a recommendation. It’s his personal view. So what I intend to do is let the report be published. Let Dr Scally speak to the report, meet with the Opposition, meet with some of those affected and impacted by this terrible debacle and then decide whether people feel there’s a need for one.

“But, absolutely, if there’s a feeling that there’s a need for one, that will be the case.

“The only people that can change that decision are the Government and the Oireachtas. But obviously, if a very eminent expert has been asked to look at this area and has made a view, I think it’s important that we at least let the report be published and consider why he arrived at that point.”

Jennings: “Just to quote you again. This is from June the 15th: ‘I believe that a Commission of Investigation is needed to get to the bottom of many of the issues – particularly issues in relation to accountability. Who knew what, where and when. That’s not Dr Scally’s job and Dr Scally is very clear on that’.”

Harris:  “Yeah and that’s exactly correct, I mean it wasn’t Dr Scally’s…as I heard Lorraine [Walsh] say very correctly, Dr Scally didn’t have powers of compellability. Having said that, Dr Scally has interviewed everybody that he wished to interview, is my understanding. But let’s, let’s just wait the 24 hours. Let’s see why Dr Scally arrived at that viewpoint. Let’s discuss it and debate it in the Oireachtas, and most importantly, with people impacted. We wouldn’t have a Scally Report tomorrow if it wasn’t for Vicky Phelan and her bravery. So I’ll also take very seriously, their views in relation to this.”

Jennings: “I may be misinterpreting you. When you said you were very clear there will be a  Commission of Inquiry and you were going to set up that inquiry in September, are you saying that’s less clear now. Are you going to wait to see what this report has to say?”

Harris: “Well it was my intention to set up a commission in September. That remains my intention. But we do need to see, I’ve heard, for example, I’ve heard Lorraine say this morning that she wants to see why Dr Scally arrived at that point. So I do think we should wait the 24 hours, let the report speak for itself, let Dr Scally speak to the report, and then lets decide as an Oireachtas and a Government what next steps to take in consultation with the women and their families who’ve been impacted…”

Listen back in full here

20 thoughts on “‘Heartbroken’

  1. Cian

    Minister for Health Simon Harris DIDN’T tell RTE’s Morning Ireland that he still intends to hold a commission of investigation into the matter.

    What he said (according to RTE’s own article, that you linked to above) is:

    Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland Mr Harris said
    “So what I intend to do is let the report be published, let Dr Scally speak … meet with the Opposition, meet with some of those affected and impacted by this terrible debacle, and then decide whether people feel there is need for one.

    “But absolutely if there is a feeling that there is a need for one that will be the case.

    “The only people who can change that decision are the Government and the Oireachtas, but obviously if a very eminent expert has been asked to look at this area and has made a view I think its important that we at least let the report be published and consider why he arrived at that point.”

    (my emphasis)

  2. kellMA

    Whoever leaked this is an A***. The main point here is the disrespect for those going through a highly traumatic time in their life. They at least deserve the respect of being the first to hear about it before it’s splashed over the papers and on the internet. There is a lot to be said for due protocol. Maybe a commission isn’t necessary, maybe the errors are clear. For me its a case of outsourcing the process and forgetting that you are still responsible for the controls. But that is not the issue here. It comes down to communication and consideration.

    1. Giggidygoo

      We are talking about a specific grouping of ‘politicians’. It’s the same grouping that chased Bridget McCole through the courts. The same grouping that allowed the Grace scandal. The ‘sew up your pockets’ grouping.

      ‘Respect’ isn’t a word in that groupings dictionary.

  3. Giggidygoo

    So, Harris receives the report from Scally yesterday – a confidential report mind you – and almost immediately it’s leaked.
    The spin unit obviously hasn’t been disbanded in full. And make no mistake, this has been an intentional leak by FG.
    A government of boys, doing boy things in boyish ways. The litany of lies. cover ups, broken promises are well documented, and will be laid bare, all together, time after time, once the Boy Varadkar decides its time for an election.

  4. nellyb

    Which royals are affiliated with society of medicine and can they help our women? Perhaps some pioneering treatment in some royal hospital – that would be very welcome

  5. rotide

    Is it definite the Govt leaked this?

    It’s a report saying there shouldn’t be an inquiry delivered to a minister in favour of an inquiry, seems enough of a motivation for it to be leaked elsewhere. Not that I know or care who leaked it. Leaks happen.

    1. Giggidygoo

      Harris well noted for saying one thing only for something different to happen.

      Leaks happen. This one was too quick to discount it as something normal.

  6. woodhouse

    I’m hearing reports that the report will blame the solicitors for scaremongering – that the number of false -negative results are within the expected range of error. The HSE is found wanting by overemphasising the effectiveness of cervical checks portraying it as a diagnosis when in fact it is only a screening system that categorises woman into high or low risk.

  7. Ron

    My good friend is one of the women affected by this scandal. She has a personal injury claim lodged and I hope she takes the state to the cleaners

    The fact that not one single person has lost their job is disgusting and tells us everything we need to k n ow about their intentions. Whitewash and archive and let’s move on to the next scandal.

    1. Cian

      Good for her.

      Do you realise that the State is currently in negotiations for the renewal of the Cervical Check out-sourced testing. And the labs are refusing to renew the contract unless the State accepts liability for future mess-ups.

      The mind-boggling pay-outs to the victims (like Vicky and Emma) means that the State has effectively lost its “no-claims-bonus” and will never[1] get insurance again.

      [1] or we will pay through the nose for it.

      1. Ron

        Wow. That answer gives a huge insight into the way your mind works Cian and also gives an insight to the type of person you are.

        Just out of curiosity, entertain me for a moment. Based on your statement above how much money do you think it should have been capped at at? How much is a life worth in the mind of Cian?

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