Minister to set up CervicalCheck tribunal 'without delay'

Minister to set up CervicalCheck tribunal 'without delay'
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that the CervicalCheck Steering Committee will be reconvened “in the near future” once a chair is appointed. Photo: Stephen Collins

A tribunal into CervicalCheck will be set up without delay, according to the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

The start of its work had been delayed earlier this year due to Covid-19.

Ms Justice Ann Power will chair the tribunal which was first announced last year.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine had previously been announced as chairperson, but she is no longer able to carry out the role after being appointed President of the High Court last month.

The Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said the investigation will "allow women to progress their cases in a sensitive manner", and without going to court.

“I want to thank all three judges for taking on these roles and look forward to engaging with them,” he added.

Donnelly said that the CervicalCheck Steering Committee will be reconvened “in the near future” once a chair is appointed.

The committee was first established to "provide oversight and assurance" on the Government's decisions in relation to the cancer screening programme.

The patient advocacy group 221+ has said it welcomes the appointment of an independent chair and hopes there will be a resolution to issues including the regime of mandatory disclosure and the role of patient advocates.

They said in a statement: "An independent chair is something we would have wished to see from the outset of the Committee.

"We look forward to the early resumption of its work as the resolution of a number of key issues including the regime for mandatory disclosure and the sustainable role of patient advocates in healthcare management and governance are still outstanding."

The controversy first emerged in 2018 when it was revealed that a number of women had been given incorrect smear test results for cervical cancer.

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