CervicalCheck families still seek apology

Lorraine Walsh and Stephen Teap.

The women and families impacted by the CervicalCheck scandal say they are still awaiting an apology from the State a year after the scandal broke.

Campaigner Lorraine Walsh, who was directly impacted by the smear test misdiagnosis controversy, has said families simply want the truth.

She said: “I want somebody in this country that is authorised by the State to say: ‘I am sorry for what happened to you, and this shouldn’t have happened, and if we had proper governance and correct procedures in place over the CervicalCheck programme, this wouldn’t have happened and we are sorry for that.’

“I want to ensure that this never happens again. The legal system is cruel to go through, I don’t think there is any women who wants to go through that fight.”

She was speaking following the publication of Gabriel Scally’s supplementary report on the screening programme.

The State is currently considering whether it will appeal a landmark judgement which awarded terminally-ill Ruth Morrissey €2.1m over the testing of her cervical smear slides.

The US lab involved has already said it will be appealing the ruling.

Dr Scally said patients are now looking for three things — the truth, an apology, and to know that it will not ever happen again.

“The moment you head down the legal route it becomes adversarial and it becomes attack and defence,” he said. “That’s a very bad basis for going forward.”

Dr Scally said there are already no-fault compensation schemes in other jurisdictions, but he said “there is an opportunity to design something new and something different, that will avoid us having the dreadful things that went on in terms of the lack of open disclosure to the CervicalCheck women”.

“Getting a judgement in the High Court is very important and I am not at all dismissing that, but it does not address all these other issues, we need some grace and compassion in all of this and I am not sure the legal system currently has grace and compassion” he said.

The 221+ patient support group also renewed its calls for an apology following Dr Scally’s report supplementary report yesterday.

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Women affected by CervicalCheck scandal to receive €20,000 each

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