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Dr Gabriel Scally doesn't feel 'dumped' from CervicalCheck and has 'an understanding' with the minister

Scally’s 170-page report into the CervicalCheck programme was published on 12 September 2018.

Dr Gabriel Scally as he published the CervicalCheck report in 2018.
Dr Gabriel Scally as he published the CervicalCheck report in 2018.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

DR GABRIEL SCALLY says he has had “informal discussions” with the Department of Health over his ongoing work with CervicalCheck and that there is “no barrier” to further work. 

Scally was speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne after debate yesterday about the public health expert’s work on CervicalCheck, three years after he authored a report on it. 

Taoioseach Micheál Martin denied that Scally had been “dumped” from working on the programme, with Scally telling the Irish Examiner that he is ready to do further work if required. 

Scally’s 170-page report into the CervicalCheck programme was published on 12 September 2018.

He was requested to carry out reviews of how the implementation plan was progressing, submitting his final report in April last year, which was published on 21 December.

Speaking today about that report, Scally said that “progress had been very good” but that there is “more work to be done”. 

He said that he hasn’t been told by anyone that his work with CervicalCheck had been completed. 

“No I haven’t had that conversation, if that was to come from anyone it would have to come from the minister, because that’s the person who engaged me in the first place, the Minister of Health,” he said. 

In response to a query from TheJournal.ie yesterday, the Department of Health said:

“Dr Scally suggested, in his second review report, that he ‘conduct one final progress review at a suitable point sometime after the coronavirus crisis has abated’.”

“Minister Donnelly is supportive of this and will raise it with the CervicalCheck Steering Committee at the appropriate time,” the department said.

Speaking today, Scally said he hasn’t spoken to the minister about the issue because their “understanding is quite clear”  that he will continue to help in any way. He said that this would likely be when the priority of the pandemic has abated. 

“There is more work to be done and I’m happy to do it if the minister wants me to. I should say that I have had informal discussions with the minister’s office over the last few months on some aspects of CervicalCheck where they’ve sought my advice and I’ve readily given that. So I don’t feel that there’s any barrier there at all to further work.”

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He added that suggestions he had been “dumped” from working on CervicalCheck does not chime with his view.

“It was a surprise to me, I didn’t feel as if I’d been dumped, I had no sensation of being dumped, I must admit,” he said. 

- With reporting by Gráinne Ni Aodha

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Rónán Duffy

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