'Watershed moment' as State apologises for CervicalCheck debacle

'Watershed moment' as State apologises for CervicalCheck debacle
Stephen Teap, Vicky Phelan and Lorraine Walsh outside the Dail after hearing the Taoiseach apologise to the victims of the CervicalCheck controversy. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The State’s apology to the women and families adversely impacted by the CervicalCheck debacle has been described as a “watershed moment” by the 221+ group.

More than 1,000 women and their families were affected by the incident which came to light in April last year after Limerick woman Vicky Phelan went public.

Almost 80 members of the 221+ group, set up by those impacted including Cork man Stephen Teap, were at the Dail yesterday for the apology.

Stephen’s wife Irene was diagnosed with stage two cancer in 2015 and died on July 26 2017, leaving behind two young sons, after two false negative tests in 2010 and 2013.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar apologised to “the women and their loved ones who suffered from a litany of failures in how cervical screening in our country operated over many years.

“Today’s apology is too late for some who were affected.

“For others it will never be enough,” he added.

“We need a better culture in our health service, one that treats patients with respect and always tells the truth. One that is never paternalistic - doctor doesn’t always know best.

“We must always share full information with our patients, admit mistakes, and put the patient first.

“There is no information about a patient that the patient should not know.” A spokesperson for the 221+ group said that today was a first step in the process of rebuilding confidence in the capacity of the State to put the patient first in the delivery of public healthcare generally, and for women’s health specifically.

“Our hope now is for a time in Ireland when no woman will ever again have cause to doubt the availability or the quality of the healthcare they receive from the State.”

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