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Doctor leading CervicalCheck inquiry now has access to searchable HSE documents

Dr Scally said that it had been difficult to obtain information in the format required.

Dr Gabriel Scally
Dr Gabriel Scally
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

DR GABRIEL SCALLY, who is leading the CervicalCheck scoping inquiry, now has access to searchable documents from the HSE.

It emerged last month that Dr Scally had been provided with unsearchable and difficult to read documentation by state bodies, a move the Health Minister Simon Harris called “pathetic”.

An end-of-June deadline was initially imposed on the scoping probe – but it’s now expected to conclude at the end of the summer.

Dr Scally said that it had been difficult to obtain information in the format required.

In a statement today, he said the searchable documents had been provided.

“As of today, it appears we now have access to documentation being provided to us by the HSE in a searchable format and with all redactions, apart from those relating to patient confidentiality, removed. We are now checking this for completeness.

“This is very welcome progress and will assist us in moving forward with our inquiry in a more time efficient manner.

“I would like to acknowledge the co-operation of all the HSE staff who have assisted in making this information available.”

Yesterday it was revealed that the review into over 3,000 cervical smear checks has not yet begun despite it being expected to have been completed by the start of June.

Health Minister Simon Harris ordered the review into the National Cervical Check after the scandal revealed that at least 209 women diagnosed with cervical cancer were not told that their smear tests had been incorrectly interpreted.

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Dr Scally is currently examining the CervicalCheck screening programme and is to report back to Minister Harris with his findings.

The scandal erupted late last month after Vicky Phelan was awarded €2.5 million by the HSE over incorrect smear tests from 2011.

Since then it has emerged that more than 200 women received false negative tests and went on to develop cervical cancer. The majority of the women were not told about the screening errors until this controversy erupted. 17 of those women have since died.

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