€2,000 payout for misread smears

The Department of Health expects a €2,000 payment will be granted “early in the new year” to women whose cervical smears were misread.

€2,000 payout for misread smears

The Department of Health expects a €2,000 payment will be granted “early in the new year” to women whose cervical smears were misread.

However, CervicalCheck campaigner Stephen Teap was sceptical of the assurance, saying: “Until we get official confirmation, these are just words without meaning.”

Mr Teap has been calling for the ex gratia payments to be extended to the 159 women whose cervical cell abnormalities were missed according to a recent review of the screening programme by the UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

“There is an urgent need for this payment. Some people are under a lot of financial stress,” he said.

“We need the minister to put the confirmation into writing instead of kicking the can down the road.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: “The minister and the Taoiseach have been clear the €2,000 payment recommended in the Scally report will be extended to the women whom RCOG have deemed discordant smear results.

He expects the payment to be made early in the New Year.

A €2,000 payment to women whose smear results were misread was one of the supports recommended by Gabriel Scally, who carried out the scoping inquiry into the CervicalCheck screening programme.

The payment was granted to the 221 or more women whose cancers were initially missed by the CervicalCheck screening programme.

The RCOG review of the screening programme found a further 159 cases in which abnormalities had been missed which if found, had the potential to “prevent or to detect cancer at an earlier stage”.

Mr Teap has been pushing for the payment to be extended to all those who have been impacted by the screening scandal.

He said Health Minister Simon Harris had emailed last week about the €2,000 ex gratia payment but did not make any firm commitments.

“There were no definites in it,” said Mr Teap. “It said: ‘I expect to be in a position to issue a direction to the HSE on this matter in the coming days.’

“But what direction is that and when will that be?” he said.

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