221 Plus aims to break isolation experienced by those affected by cervical check scandal

221 Plus aims to break isolation experienced by those affected by cervical check scandal
Campaigners Vicky Phelan, Stephen Teap and Lorraine Walsh at the launch of 221+ Cervical Check Patient Support Group. Picture: PA

A new support group aims to break the silence and isolation experienced by those affected by the cervical check scandal.

Yesterday, campaigners Vicky Phelan, Stephen Teap and Lorraine Walsh launched 221 Plus, with the support of a number of charities.

The group's name represents the 221 women who had their smear tests incorrectly read as well as those who are not yet known.

It will provide information, advice and support to patients directly affected by the controversy and their families.

Lorraine Walsh, one of the women and a member of the group's steering committee, says the support network gives her strength.

"Where would I be now if this hadn't happened? To be honest, it has shaken me to my very core," said Ms Walsh.

The only thing I can say is I have found great comfort from other people who have been in the same situation.

The group is funded by the Department of Health but will operate independently of the HSE.

Stephen Teap's wife Irene had cervical cancer which was missed by two smear tests.

He says another one of the goals is to have the recommendations of the Scally Report into the scandal implemented.

"That [the Scally Report] along with the HPV screening next year is something that is very important as well," said Mr Teap.

"No one needs to be in my situation where I buried my wife and now I have to raise two children on my own."

221 Plus meets again next month and in the meantime says people who have been affected by CervicalCheck can reach out to its website.

- Digital Desk

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