Cervical screening row: 17 women have died in Republic

02 May, 2018, 01:28 | Author: Inez Murphy
  • Vicky Phelan

To date, it has emerged that 208 women with cervical cancer whose cases were audited should have had an earlier intervention.

A TOTAL of 17 women have died due to a cervical screening controversy in the Republic.

Ms Phelan (43), from Limerick, was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years after her smear test results of 2011 were incorrectly reported as clear of abnormalities. Nor is it a group of women wondering if they have cancer. "It is life and it is death".

Simon Harris is coming under pressure to release a memo he received about the issues just before Vicky Phelan took her court case, which kicked off the entire saga.

HSE director-general Tony O'Brien has apologised to all of the women involved and to their families for the "completely unacceptable" practices.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly has said Tony O'Brien's reaction to the CervicalCheck scandal "stretches credibility".

Speaking on RTÉ's "This Week in Politics" programme, Minister for Health Simon Harris said he does not know how many women may have died arising from the cervical smear controversy.

"Over the past two days, we have been communicating with these women and I believe significant progress had been made", Harris said. "By God am I going to take these guys on, I think it's disgraceful".

It comes as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said there will be an inquiry into the controversy over the screenings.

Mr Harris said he did not have "specific figures" but agreed with Fianna Fáil's Stephen Donnelly that it could be in the region of 1,500. "But her courage and tenacity has done a great service to the women of Ireland and her actions will ultimately lead to improvements for all", he said.

The news means that more than 208 women may have been affected by the controversy. "The Irish Cancer Society echoes Vicky's calls to continue availing of cervical cancer screening".

Vicky Phelan's lawyer, Cian O'Carroll, called the conduct throughout the process appalling and said, "it is particularly disgusting when you learn of the number of people that have died".

Ms Phelan said she was contacted by the Taoiseach's press adviser on Tuesday evening asking to arrange a private meeting."I said yes, I would meet him in principle, but I'm trying to concentrate on my treatment which I have to go to this week and said that I would get back to him", she said.

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