All women and families impacted by CervicalCheck scandal to get Dáil apology

The Taoiseach is to apologise to all the women and their families who have been impacted by the CervicalCheck scandal in the Dáil next week.

All women and families impacted by CervicalCheck scandal to get Dáil apology

The Taoiseach is to apologise to all the women and their families who have been impacted by the CervicalCheck scandal in the Dáil next week.

Leo Varadkar will make a formal apology to Vickie Phelan and all others involved on Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile the introduction of HPV screening, which provides more accurate results, has been delayed further and will not be introduced until next year.

The Government had first promised that the test would be introduced in Sept 2018 — however, this was delayed due to the severe backlog in the number of smear tests following the CervicalCheck controversy.

Earlier this year Health Minister Simon Harris said the new screening system would be brought in before the end of this year.

But the Department of Health has now told the Irish Examiner that it has instructed the HSE to "take all opportunities to deliver this project as early as possible, with the aim of implementing HPV primary screening in Q1 2020".

No specific date was given for the roll-out of the new screening system.

Sinn Féin health spokeswoman, Louise O'Reilly, said: "It was first promised for September 2018, it was then supposed to be September 2019 - that was delayed and that date passed very quietly. It is extremely frustrating that another deadline has now been missed."

Campaigners who are part of the 221+ CervicalCheck patient support group had been calling for Mr Varadkar to apologise on behalf of the Government for the failures in the screening programme which lead to many women not being told about false reading of their smear tests.

Mr Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris met with patient reps, Stephen Teap and Lorraine Walsh, over the summer after which the Taoiseach said he would address the women directly when the Dáil returned.

Ms Walsh and others had been critical that nobody had ever formally apologised to them on behalf of the State for what happened.

Reacting at the time, Mr Varadkar said he regretted what had happened "particularly the whole scandal around non-disclosure, the failure of the HSE and CervicalCheck".

"If perhaps there is a particular format in which that should be done, such as a statement in the Dáil, if that hasn't been done already, I'm happy to do it," he told RTÉ radio.HSE chief executive, Paul Reid, also issued a public apology to all affected by the controversy in August.

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