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Vicky Phelan warns country is becoming "inured" to health scandals

Patient advocate Vicky Phelan has warned the country is becoming "inured" to health scandals and also declared that proposed health safety sanctions for hospitals are a “joke”.

Vicky Phelan.

Ms Phelan, the Limerick mother-of-two who has helped expose the cervical cancer controversy, has also said that a new audit into tests is likely to show up to another 200 women who were misdiagnosed.

Speaking at the MacGill Summer School this morning, Ms Phelan, who is terminally ill, outlined why she was continuing to fight for answers.

“My quest for answers is about much more than money, it is about accountability,”she told the audience.

[quote]I am not after revenge or getting people fired.[/quote]

She also added that she wanted a health service in Ireland that she could trust for her daughter.

Stephen Teap and Vicky Phelan in May 2018.

Ms Phelan warned that there had been so many health scandals in Ireland that the country was becoming "inure" to them. These included the CervicalCheck controversy, the Hepatitis C scandal and the Portlaoise baby scandal among others, the audience were told.

Minister after minister had expressed outrage and there had been hope these would be “catalysts for change”, added Ms Phelan.

She also was very critical of proposed new patent safety measures, which include fines for hospitals. These are under the Patient Safety Bill. She said proposals for a €5,000 fine or three months in jail were a “joke” and these sanctions would go nowhere.

The State Claims Agency was also continuing to fight women like her, she added.

The HSE, she said, was not paying for mistakes and were therefore not made accountable and there was “no need for them to fess up”.

Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene died a year ago from cancer, also told of his attempts to get justice amid the CervicalCheck controversy.

He asked what if society stopped talking about referring to culture and start calling the health scandals and CervicalCheck what they were - which was to “protect, deny and silence those who challenge” them.

“What if we lived in a country where patient safety was at the core of what we do?” asked the father-of-two.

Stephen Teap with his wife Irene and their two children.