Irish Cancer Society Reacts To The Scally Report

“It has been five months since Vicky Phelan courageously told her story, and during that time we have heard harrowing accounts from the women affected and their families. Hopefully, today, the Scally report will bring some much needed clarity and answers to these women, and the women of Ireland,” said Donal Buggy, Head of Advocacy & Services at the Irish Cancer Society.

“Dr Scally puts the women affected and their families, at the heart of his report, and this compassion and understanding was crucially missing during the screening services audit process. We are very disappointed to see the full scale of serious communication errors that took place in the non-disclosure of the audit results, but more shocking is the nature and tone of the language outlined in the report during the follow up disclosure meetings.”

“This report highlights the need for a radical cultural change in the health service to mandatory open disclosure, and raises important questions about the lack of compassion shown to these women.”

The Society is urging all eligible women to continue to attend for their cervical smears, and emphasises that Dr Scally has not found any quality issues with the current laboratories.

Mr Buggy said: “CervicalCheck is 10 years old this month, and in its first 8 years has detected more than 50,000 high grade pre-cancerous changes in women. While understandably people’s confidence in screening has been shaken, we want to provide reassurance today, for the women attending screening next week or next month, that cervical screening is safe and does save lives.”

“Ultimately, with the combination of HPV testing, which will be introduced in the near future, and the HPV vaccination, Ireland has the opportunity to almost eradicate cervical cancer in a generation.”

The Society will work with patients and families affected, to ensure that the recommendations of the report are fully implemented and that within three months an independent review of implementation plans is produced.

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