CervicalCheck Scandal: Medical records denied to two women

Two women with cervical cancer “who do not have time on their hands” have been refused their own medical records, the Dáil has heard.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said full accountability now needs to be delivered and the Government wants to ensure the information put into the public domain is fully accurate and complete.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty had detailed the case of two women facing difficulties accessing their own medical records.

He said legal representatives made arrangements last Friday to collect documents they were assured would be available at the CervicalCheck headquarters in Limerick.

“They were told, on arrival, the documentation would not be made available and escorted off the premises. This was done in the presence of the programme manager for CervicalCheck, Mr John Gleeson,” Mr Doherty told the Dáil.

“This is not the compassionate approach those of us in the House want to see in dealing with victims of this scandal. The Government needs to take a hold and get a grip on this situation.”

Mr Coveney said there is “no question” any information or files are going to be hidden from anyone.

“No victims here should be treated in a way that adds any further to the trauma they have witnessed and the challenges they continue to face.”

He said the Government is insistent that nobody is excluded from full scrutiny regardless of the positions they hold.

Mr Coveney told the Dáil that people would be held accountable through the initial investigation being carried out by Dr Gabriel Scally and the follow-on inquiry that will come afterwards.

Mr Doherty insisted women and their families had still not received the supports promised and claimed the Government is more about being seen to take action and get control of the situation rather than delivering substantive action.

But Mr Coveney said: “It is by listening to people like Vicky Phelan, Stephen Teap and Emma Mhic Mhathúna that the Government has tried to respond in as comprehensive a way as it can to provide tailor-made individual packages for families and individuals who need them from the HSE.”

“Not only that, we are appointing people within the HSE who appoint people to go out and talk to families and individuals to ensure we get the supportive packages right. That is a significantly important delivery for the Government to follow through on for victims and their families.”

He said Health Minister Simon Harris had met with Ms Phelan and Mr Teap after they appeared at the Public Accounts Committee this week to make sure all the supports are put in place for victims.

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