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Tony O’Brien has posted a video saying goodbye to HSE staff

O’Brien announced his resignation last night after coming under pressure over the smear test scandal.

Source: HSE Ireland/YouTube

TONY O’BRIEN has posted a video directed to HSE staff this evening.

The Director General of the HSE announced last night that he was resigning as pressure mounted from the public and opposition groups over the CervicalCheck controversy.

Today, which is his last day as director, O’Brien thanked HSE staff and said that he wanted staff to be proud of the work that they do.

In a video posted to YouTube this evening, he said:

I am extremely proud of the work that you do in Ireland’s health and social care services.
The work that you do, your work, your commitment, your care, is a vital part of what makes Ireland Ireland, it’s a vital part of our community structure.

The CervicalCheck controversy, which broke over two weeks ago, revealed that 209 women who had received a cervical cancer diagnosis weren’t told that smear tests they had previous to their diagnosis were incorrect.

The scandal has also placed an emphasis on the fact that the smear tests don’t diagnose cancer, and are 70% effective at catching abnormalities. It’s been said that although this information was available, that it wasn’t adequately communicated with the public.

Of the 209 women who’ve been affected, 203 women and their families have been contacted about their incorrect smear test results.

Over 15,000 calls have been made to the CervicalCheck helpline from women concerned about their smear tests as a result of the controversy.

O’Brien was originally due to finish his tenure as HSE Director General in a few weeks’ time, but due to the fallout over the smear test scandal, he announced his premature departure last night.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One News, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that O’Brien was to be given what was ”contractually” agreed.

When asked whether the effectiveness of smear tests was ever checked, the Taoiseach said that any false negatives were treated as part of the 30% margin of error associated with smears.

He added “But I no longer fully trust everything that I’ve been told” which is why an inquiry will be set up, he said.

This evening, Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris announced a package of financial measures for the women impacted by the smear test scandal.

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