Still seeking answers
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...