No I won’t re­sign, top medic tells TDs

Irish Daily Mail - - News -

TONY Holo­han, the State’s chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer, brushed off calls to re­sign yes­ter­day over the Cer­vi­calCheck scan­dal dur­ing a nine-hour Dáil pub­lic ac­counts com­mit­tee meet­ing.

Dr Holo­han, who ad­vised then health min­is­ter Leo Varad­kar against in­tro­duc­ing manda­tory dis­clo­sures in 2017, de­fended his de­ci­sion not to in­form him of the smear test con­tro­versy.

Asked if he should re­sign, he said: ‘If I was to say to the min­is­ter I was giv­ing him a warn­ing...that some­thing would hap­pen in six months, if I was to re­lay to a min­is­ter ev­ery­thing that I knew sim­ply to be able to say af­ter the fact I had told him, I don’t think I’d be do­ing my job.’

Dr Holo­han said he had ‘no prob­lem’ an­swer­ing to the Scally In­quiry, which is set­ting the frame­work for a wider in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and would ‘wel­come the ac­count­abil­ity’ that would fol­low. ‘I’m very happy to an­swer for all of the judg­ments that I made,’ he said.

Jim Bres­lin, the sec­re­tary-gen­eral at the Depart­ment of Health, said had he known of the wide­spread scale of the non-dis­clo­sure in­volved he would have told the min­is­ter.

In­terim HSE di­rec­tor-gen­eral John Con­naghan told TDs: ‘If there is a re­quire­ment to hold in­di­vid­u­als to ac­count on a per­sonal ba­sis we will do so.’

He said Cer­vi­calCheck had failed to fol­low up with clin­i­cians who re­ceived let­ters about the in­cor­rect smear re­sults to en­sure they were in­form­ing the pa­tients con­cerned.

Mr Con­naghan said: ‘In­deed, it is not clear to me that the staff within the pro­gramme were aware of the scale of the dif­fi­culty in terms of the pro­por­tion of women who had not been com­mu­ni­cated with.

‘The out­come was that a large pro­por­tion of women were not told about ei­ther the au­dit it­self or the re­sults for them as in­di­vid­u­als.’

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