News & Media

More outsourcing of Lab work to be confirmed by Scally

13 February 2019

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

Labour Party Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD, has said that after today’s Health Committee on CervicalCheck, that we need further confirmation on the outsourcing of lab work from Dr Gabriel Scally.

 Deputy Kelly’s comments come ahead of the publication of Dr Gabriel Scally’s second report into CervicalCheck.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Today in the Health Committee it was confirmed that the contracted labs did more outsourcing than was known before without permission of the HSE and that Dr Scally will confirm the same.

“It is very welcome that Dr Scally is going to publish a report next week on the work carried out why the labs and what exactly they have outsourced. Since news first broke that testing was being outsourced without the knowledge of the HSE, the need to have clarity on quality assurance has been high on the list. 

“The Government need to honour their commitment to the recommendations in the Meehan report and bring legislation to the House to prevent more women going through what Ruth Morrissey has been enduring in the High Court over the last 15 days.

“The Taoiseach made very public commitments in the Dáil and through the media that no more CervicalCheck cases would end up in the High Court and yet we have senior High court judges stating that there are not enough judges to hear CervicalCheck cases.

“Women at the centre of this scandal are coming up against unnecessary roadblocks and delays — for example we are still waiting on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to carry out their review, which was meant to be carried out last May. These women can’t keep waiting and waiting for reports to be carried out. It isn’t fair to make promises to these women that the Government aren’t seeing through, they are already going through enough, they don’t need to be continuously let down by the Government.

 

“Much has been made today of the 78,000 women facing delays of 27 weeks for results of their slides being checked. It is of course deeply worrying and I received confirmation that a small amount of women could suffer negative health impacts and late diagnosis as a result. It was confirmed to me in Committee months ago that women who need to be prioritised because they are more at risk are not being prioritised in these rechecks. Women especially those who deserve to be prioritised, need answers on their slides, sooner rather than later.

“It is deeply worrying that the Department of Health or HSE can’t confirm that HPV testing will happen this year! The Minister committed to the introduction of HPV testing for cervical cancer in July 2018. HIQA recommended that HPV testing should be introduced as the primary cervical screening method back in May 2017 so much of the preparatory research in how this scheme could work in the context of the Irish health service has already been carried out. The evidence shows that HPV testing has been a success in Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands and if we are serious about eradicating cervical cancer here in Ireland then a timeline for its introduction in 2019 is critical.”