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State apology on the cards after Varadkar and Harris meet CervicalCheck support group

Patient representatives, however, say a full apology is only possible with a full understanding of who’s accountable.

pjimage (93) Lorraine Walsh and Stephen Teap met with the Taoiseach and health minister today Source: Rollingnews.ie

THE TAOISEACH AND Health Minister today met with advocates from the CervicalCheck Patient Support Group, with both sides discussing a full State apology to those affected by the failings in the screening programme. 

It comes after a HSE rapid review published yesterday into the latest problems within CervicalCheck found over 4,000 cases where women were not given the results of their smear tests

In the 90-minute meeting, Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris spoke with Lorraine Walsh and Stephen Teap.

Walsh was one of the women caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal and among the 221 women whose smear test results were read incorrectly. Teap’s wife Irene, who was also among the 221, died from cervical cancer.

They now advocate for those affected by CervicalCheck failings and today sat down with Varadkar and Harris today to discuss “all aspects of the role of the State in the CervicalCheck debacle”, as well as the basis for a formal apology to the women and families impacted.

In a statement, the patient’s group said: “A full apology is only possible with a full understanding of what one was and is responsible for.

Today’s meeting is the beginning of a new dialogue which is now more properly and fully informed in that regard by the work of people like Dr Gabriel Scally and, more recently, Professor Brian MacCraith which uncovered the shortcomings that led to this catastrophic systems failure.

The patient group said it wants an apology to begin a healing process for all those negatively impacted by CervicalCheck.

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach told TheJournal.ie that Varadkar thanked Walsh and Teap for their ”extraordinary dedication to ensuring that the full facts about what happened in CervicalCheck is established, lessons learned, changes made and trust restored”.

“Plans for further engagement were also discussed including the provision of a State apology to be made when the Dáil returns in the autumn session,” the spokesperson added. 

With reporting from Christina Finn

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