Bring Dr Gabriel Scally back to finish CervicalCheck reviews, say campaigners

Bring Dr Gabriel Scally back to finish CervicalCheck reviews, say campaigners

Following his devastating report in 2018 into the CervicalCheck scandal, Dr Scally was called on by then health minister Simon Harris to carry out a number reports and reviews as to how changes are being made, and he filed his last one in 2020. Picture: Sam Boal

Dr Gabriel Scally must be brought back on board to see out the remaining crucial CervicalCheck review, cancer campaigners Vicky Phelan and Lorraine Walsh have said.

Ms Phelan was speaking from the US after the Irish Examiner revealed Dr Scally is no longer involved in a review of the service.

This is despite confirmation that 22 out of his 170 crucial recommendations for change have not yet been implemented and a promise he would oversee the process to completion.

Ms Phelan has called on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to make it clear Dr Scally will be not excluded. 

Labour Leader Alan Kelly also called on the Government to confirm Dr Scally will be involved after he demanded an explanation as to why he had been “dumped”.

Vicky Phelan spoke to the 'Irish Examiner' from the US, where she is receiving treatment.
Vicky Phelan spoke to the 'Irish Examiner' from the US, where she is receiving treatment.

“It is extremely important he stays involved. If you look at previous scandals, none of the recommendations were implemented because of the lack of oversight," Ms Phelan said.
"This was the first time there was oversight. Obviously, it is causing a lot of problems particularly for the department. 

“It is the Department of Health who are unwilling or unable to implement the remaining recommendations. He needs to clarify the position further. Dr Scally needs to be brought on board until all recommendations are implemented,” Ms Phelan added.

It was confirmed that Dr Scally is no longer involved in providing progress updates to the Department of Health. 

It said: “Dr Scally has fulfilled his commitments to the process, including his two independent review reports which have been published.”

However, on foot of the Irish Examiner report and Mr Kelly’s calls in the Dáil, a spokesman for Mr Donnelly said he is “fully supportive” of Dr Gabriel Scally remaining involved in the CervicalCheck review, just hours after the Dáil heard he no longer was.

Following his devastating report in 2018 into the CervicalCheck scandal, Dr Scally was called on by then health minister Simon Harris to carry out a number reports and reviews as to how changes are being made, and he filed his last one in 2020.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Dr Scally said he is ready and willing to continue his work if asked to do so, but it is up to the department to decide the matter. 

He said while great progress has been made, he would like to see all the recommendations aimed at improving services for women “implemented and reviewed”.

A spokesperson for the health minister said he is “supportive” of Dr Scally’s role.

“In his last report, Dr Scally suggested that he conduct one more final progress review. He said this should be held “at a suitable point, sometime after the Coronavirus has abated. Minister Donnelly is fully supportive of this. He will raise this with the CervicalCheck Steering Committee at the appropriate time”, a statement said.

However, patient advocates including Ms Phelan and Ms Walsh say this is not sufficient and greater clarity is needed.

At a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday night, Mr Donnelly was asked by Cavan TD Niamh Smyth about the Dr Scally stories and called for his response.

He said, according to sources, that the claims Dr Scally was dumped were "not true".

 

 

 

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