CervicalCheck scandal: Calls for immediate redress scheme for women

Calls have been made for the immediate roll-out of a redress scheme to cover costs for women who have been caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal.

Labour TD Alan Kelly said the medical expenses and other costs for women who developed cervical cancer after receiving false negative smear results should be covered by the State.

"We now know of the cases of the 208 women and unfortunately the women who have passed away. The Department of Health are now trying to contact all the remaining women who are not aware and are in the process of doing so.

"All of the remaining women from this moment forward and into the recent past should have every single cost that they have or will have in the future paid for by the State.

"They should not be concerned about financial issues, they have enough to be worried about and the State has let them down.

"The very least we can do is provide them with the best healthcare."

Speaking outside Leinster House, Mr Kelly said: "This is a national scandal that is affecting women, right now, this is a live issue for many women around the country and obviously the priority is for those women."

Mr Kelly said a Hiqa-led inquiry will not work as the authority do not have the powers of compellability.

Instead the party wants a commission of investigation to be established which would have "very tight and defined terms of reference".

"Those terms of reference should be modular in how they operate so that we can have reports relatively quickly and one of the most important things in those terms of reference is that all women who have issues who don't want to go through the litigation route, and that's their choice if they want to, that their cases are dealt with as a priority in the first module."

The Minister needs to bring about accountability now before any inquiry.

Sinn Féin also said a Hiqa inquiry is not good enough given the scale of the scandal and the drip-feeding of information from the HSE.

The party's health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly said: "It might be the case that we need a twin-track approach to this and that's something that we are going to have to look at.

"But we will not be rushed into supporting an inquiry just because it gives a nice, easy sound bite, we have to be mindful of the women who need justice from this inquiry, who need answers and who need information," she said.

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