Dr Gabriel Scally has said he was “surprised” to see the Department of Health say his involvement in the CervicalCheck review process was at an end.
Speaking after therevealed he was no longer involved, and amid accusations from Labour leader Alan Kelly that he has been “dumped”, Dr Scally made clear there is more work to be done and he is ready to do it.
In a statement to theearlier this week, the department said Dr Scally had “fulfilled his duties” in relation to the review, despite 22 of 170 recommendations of reform not yet implemented.
Patient advocates including Vicky Phelan and Lorraine Walsh have said they want Dr Scally involved because, among those outstanding recommendations, are crucial elements including mandatory disclosure and the patient safety bill.
“I was surprised to see that [the department statement] myself,” Dr Scally said today.
Asked if he was told 'thanks and goodbye' by health minister Stephen Donnelly, he said "I haven't had that conversation. If it were, it would have to come from the minister because that's the person who really engaged me in the first place."
In describing his work so far, Dr Scally said he has been greatly impressed with the level of reform within the Health Service Executive, “less so” with the Department of Health.
“As most people know, progress from the HSE was very good, progress from the Department of Health not so good, and I have outstanding concerns about the rate of progress,” he said.
Dr Scally said he hasn’t heard from Mr Donnelly since the controversy erupted.
"I think he's more than willing to have that assistance, whenever it is appropriate — maybe not in the middle of a pandemic,” he told RTÉ'sshow.
“It didn't feel like I had been dumped, I am very clear that great work has been done and more needed,” he added.
“My relationship with regard to CervicalCheck and the aftermath and the recommendations is directly with the ministers, the responsible minister, that is the way it has been from the very beginning,” he said.
"They do have Covid going on and I and the Department of Health and the minister are very tied up at the moment," he said.