A one-off payment of €2,000 from the State is to be made to the 209 women who suffered a delayed cancer diagnosis as a part of the CervicalCheck scandal.
An interim report into the controversy has issued a guideline that “an immediate ex gratia” payment be transferred to every woman impacted, including Vicky Phelan, or to the family of those who have passed away.
The Government, in a meeting today, approved this payment after Health Minister Simon Harris briefed colleagues on the initial interim report made by Dr Gabriel Scally.
Minister Harris said: “This payment relates to addressing any financial obstacles women might encounter in having their voices heard as part of his work. It would not be a bar to further payment in due course.”
The interim report by Dr Scally also recommends:
- The Provision of a more thorough guide to the CervicalCheck screening programme via the Internet.
- That the information statements given to women about the restrictions of the tests should be more explicit about the possible reasons why screening might fail to spot abnormalities that are present as these can lead to the development of cervical cancer.
- That the details for women accompanying the consent form should guarantee that they will have complete access to their cervical screening record when they require it.
- That the information for women accompanying the consent form should guarantee that should there be an issue or mistake of any significance with the screening or reporting process, open disclosure of all the information will take place in a swift, considerate and accurate fashion.
Mr Harris said the UK expert believed the provision of information to women in Ireland who participate in screening tests “is comparable with that available elsewhere and in some respects is better. He also found that the process of completing a consent form at the time of screening is a major strength of the Irish programme. However, he does make a number of important recommendations to improve the information provided to women, including strengthening the statements on the limitations of screening. I will immediately ask the HSE to implement the four recommendations related to this.”
Although Dr Scally has given an opening report on schedule it is thought that he will not be able to meet the end of June deadline for a final submission of his report. Minister Harris said that the inquiry will need to review the facts and get answers quickly for women, while also locating issues that may merit a further in depth statutory examination.