Still seek­ing an­swers

Irish Daily Mail - - Comment -

THE damn­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer memo from March 2016 il­lus­trated very clearly that this scan­dal was no mere over­sight. Rather it proved that a num­ber of se­nior peo­ple within Cer­vi­calCheck, the HSE and the Depart­ment of Health knew ex­actly what was go­ing on. And it im­plied, in its doc­u­ment­ing of an ad­vance me­dia strat­egy to com­bat the ex­pected ad­verse fall­out, that the clin­i­cians who had been ad­vised to tell their pa­tients would, in­deed, do that. We know, how­ever, from for­mer Cer­vi­calCheck boss Gráinne Flan­nelly’s in­ter­ac­tion with Vicky Phe­lan’s doc­tor, Kevin Hickey, that that in­for­ma­tion was not be­ing im­parted by many of the doc­tors to those who needed to know – the women at the cen­tre of this med­i­cal storm.

Now we dis­cover that a full year and a half later, in Septem­ber 2017, it was known by the hi­er­ar­chy that there re­mained med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers who had still not told their pa­tients about their mis­read smear tests. How many more lay­ers have still to be un­cov­ered in re­la­tion to this ap­palling and heart­break­ing de­ba­cle?

What we have is a tragic tale of cover-up, of ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity and ob­fus­ca­tion, and a picture be­ing pre­sented, day af­ter day, of those in possession of the facts fail­ing ut­terly in their duty to tell the very peo­ple who most needed to know.

Two days ago, when ad­dress­ing the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee, bravely and with great dig­nity, Vicky Phe­lan said she was not look­ing for re­venge. What she is look­ing for, how­ever, are an­swers. And it be­hoves us all to keep de­mand­ing those until Vicky – and all the other women – get them...

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