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CervicalCheck campaigners welcome health minister's promises on steering group

Campaigners and advocates met with Stephen Donnelly yesterday.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

MINISTER FOR HEALTH Stephen Donnelly has extended funding to the 221+ CervicalCheck support group, in a move that has been welcomed by the group. 

Donnelly, in a statement this evening, said that after meeting with representatives of the group yesterday, alongside representatives from the Marie Keating Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society, funding would now be extended beyond August 2021. 

“This funding will support the 221+ Group going forward so that it can continue its very important work in assisting patients and next of kin of those directly affected by the CervicalCheck issues through the provision of information, advice and support,” Donnelly said. 

He also said that he would appoint a second patient representative from the group to the CervicalCheck Steering Committee. 

The steering group was set up in the wake of the original CervicalCheck controversy by then-health minister Simon Harris. 

In a statement this evening, the 221+ group said that yesterday’s meeting with Donnelly was a “careful but hopeful first step” in leaving behind the errors of the CervicalCheck scandal. 

“The Minister’s commitment to restarting the work of the Cervical Check Steering Committee with an independent Chair and three patient advocates is critical as it is the forum to enable oversight on and input to all of the issues that are still to be addressed,” the group said. 

“His commitment also to continued funding for 221+ to provide much needed support to the women and families living with the consequences of the CervicalCheck debacle is appreciated.

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“There is still a lot to be done but we acknowledge the efforts of the Minister to engage with the detail of the issues and we look forward to progressing the work required with a similar intent. ”

In July, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that the government would improve cervical screening following criticism from campaigner Vicky Phelan. 

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