Latest: Two more women affected by CervicalCheck controversy contacted by HSE

Update 8.52pm: The HSE has contacted two more women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy.

The latest audit update shows it has made contact with 205 women and families so far out of the 209 women whose test could have provided a different result.

18 of them have died and where this is the case their family and next of kin are being contacted.

The health authority says it will end the matching process with the National Cancer Registry in the next week.

To date, 7,103 calls have been returned.

Meanwhile, new documents show CervicalCheck told doctors to use their own judgement about whether to tell women about the audits of their cancer smear tests.

They warned in some cases revealing to a woman with cancer that she had a false negative may have done more harm than good.

The documents also show the head of the scoping inquiry into what happened has expressed concern about the fevered atmosphere around CervicalCheck, and how it might affect his investigation.

- Digital Desk

Update 6.38pm: Govt to establish new independent HSE board; Warning 'fevered atmosphere' may affect probe

The head of the scoping inquiry into what happened at CervicalCheck has said the 'fevered atmosphere' around the situation may affect his investigation.

His warning came after the cabinet this evening approved the re-establishment of a HSE board in a bid to streamline the management of the health service and offer a greater level of accountability.

Dr Gabriel Scally (below) says key figures are distracted by having to appear before Oireachtas committees.

The Department of Health has released a number of documents relating to the scandal this evening.

Dr Scally told the Secretary General of the Department of Health he has met with Vicky Phelan and will shortly be requesting information from the parties involved in the investigation.

But he said to do his work he needs the full attention and co-operation of the key individuals involved in CervicalCheck, the Department of Health and the HSE.

Dr Scally said he was concerned the fevered atmosphere surrounding the scandal may inhibit that.

Records released this evening also reveal that in a note CervicalCheck told doctors to pass on information about the review of smear tests to patients as a general rule of thumb.

But they said doctors could use their own judgement in cases where revealing the outcome could do more harm than good.

And in cases where a woman had died, the result should simply be recorded in her notes.

The cabinet has also approved this evening the re-establishment of a HSE board in a bid to streamline the management of the health service and offer a greater level of accountability.

Speaking about the approval, Minister for Health Simon Harris said: "It is my firm view that a Board governance structure, with strong competencies across key areas, will contribute to strengthening the oversight and performance of the HSE pending its further reorganisation.

"Under the new legislation the Board will be accountable to the Minister for the performance of its functions and it will be responsible for the appointment of a CEO. The CEO will be responsible to the Board and the Board will take responsibility for assessing the CEO's performance."

I firmly believe that the appointment of a strong Board will help ensure robust governance of the HSE.

- Digital Desk

Update 4.36pm: 'Absence of political leadership' in Health Department, says FF leader

The Fianna Fáil leader says there has been a lack of leadership in the Department of Health when dealing with the CervicalCheck scandal.

A number of internal Department memos will be released this evening after being considered by the cabinet.

They will show no concerns were raised about patient safety at CervicalCheck, but some in the Department of Health knew smear test audit information was not being passed to women and doctors.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says when Minister for Health Simon Harris found out about the situation he should have done more.

"Mintse Harris became aware, he says, on April the 16th via memo in relation to the Vicky Phelan case.

"What I have to say, and I regret saying - there has been an absence of political leadership with the department since then.

"I can't understand why the Minister wouldn't have summoned people to his department on that issue - there and then - and said 'I want all documentation pertaining to this issue produced within 48 hours'."

- Digital Desk

Update 3.17: New documents relating to CervicalCheck scandal to be released

By Elaine Loughlin Political Correspondent

The Taoiseach has confirmed that another tranche of documents relating to the CervicalCheck scandal are to be released this evening.

Speaking in the Dáil Leo Varadkar said "roughly a dozen" documents, which include memos between the Department of Health and Health Service Executive at an official level, minutes of meetings of officials of the HSE and Department of Health and emails between various officials, will be published.

It comes after three 2016 memos released last week revealed that CervicalCheck was working on a strategy to mitigate any negative stories that might appear in the media around the screening service.

The memos, which led to the resignation of HSE head Tony O'Brien, also stated that letters informing women of the result of audits of their smear checks were being "paused".

Mr Varadar told the Dáil that the latest group of confirm that "no concerns were raised about patient safety, the efficacy and accuracy of the programme or the accuracy of any particular laboratories.

"The only issues dealt with in the documents relate to open disclosure or, rather, the non-open disclosure of information to patients and doctors," he said.

Update 2.41pm: Social Democrats call for action instead of outrage over CervicalCheck scandal

The Social Democrats have called for politicians to move beyond outrage over the CervicalCheck scandal and start implementing actions.

The party welcomed the news today that a new board will be appointed to the HSE in a bid to increase accountability.

Cabinet ministers again discussed the scandal which saw 209 women given false negative cancer test results.

Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall says the all-party Sláintecare report needs to be implemented.

"What has happened in relation to CervicalCheck is shocking, but at a political level and right across the board, there is a responsibility on politicians to actually implement the legislation that is required to bring about the accountability that everyone is talking about," she said.

Outrage, condemnation, will not achieve that.

Roisin Shortall.

Earlier: Cabinet to meet to discuss new HSE board after Cervical Check scandal

7.35am: Cabinet will meet this morning to discuss re-establishing a board to oversee the Health Service Executive.

Minister for Health Simon Harris says it is part of measures to ensure there is accountability within the organisation.

Mr Harris will bring draft legislation to the cabinet to re-establish the board in an attempt to deal with issues around governance and accountability.

It follows the Cervical Check controversy which has dominated political proceedings in recent weeks and which has seen the Director General of the HSE Tony O'Brien step down and the launch of an inquiry.

The previous board was abolished in 2011.

Meanwhile, 200 people gathered outside the GPO in Dublin to show their support to the women and families affected by the controversy.

- Digital Desk


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