Cervical Check Scandal – Has the full story yet been told?

Undoubtedly, the Irish Public have been shocked by the extent of the incomplete disclosure to women of the results of Cervical Screening Audit involving women who had developed Cervical Cancer within the Cervical Check programme. It would be expected that in November 2019, some 18 months after the scandal hit the public domain, the truth would be of paramount importance in the context of this scandal.

Truth includes provision of all detail and not just detail that is deemed to be appropriate to disclose. A duty of candour ought to apply most especially to the Cervical Check scandal.

Even as late as November 2019, patients are being recalled to be informed of their Screening Results. The language used is unduly scientific, often seeks to explain away the circumstances that occurred by using technical terms including “margin of error” or indeed less technical terms such as you were just “unlucky.”

It is noted that the Acute Operations, HSE, located at Unit 4a, The Dargan Building, Heuston South Quarter, Military Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8 is the entity with responsibility for notification of patients. Also, that that notification is being undertaken under the auspices of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists where an Expert Panel review of Cervical Check screening is so occurring.

Although the detail in the letters that have been delivered to patients is to a large extent accurate, it is less than clear whether that detail merits legal opinion or advice. Also in certain of the meetings, it is worrying that the explanations delivered cause a belief to occur that a particular result was within the “accepted margin of error” where the full detail is not disclosed. Yet no explanation is delivered as to what is the accepted margin of error nor indeed is any explanation delivered as to whether test results were outsourced to U.S. labs or what is the margin of error applicable in the United States versus Ireland and the rationale that exists in relation to the differential in terms of “margin of error”.

Lack of information, in the context of purported full disclosure is inevitably in contradiction to that particular entitlement.

Accordingly, we at Malcomson Law, who are representing persons who have recently received letters, urge that every person who has received such a letter from the Acute Operations, HSE ought to obtain legal advice. No letter that has been received should not be the subject of independent legal advice. Also, the detail that is disclosed in certain meetings on behalf of the HSE should not be the basis upon which a decision is made as to whether a legal entitlement to pursue Court proceedings is made. Also, for many such persons, the information imparted in medical, scientific and technical jargon is the commencement date of any invitation period i.e. the two-year period within which Court Proceedings must be advanced.

In addition, for those persons who are attending such meetings in the future, it is urged that those meetings are attended by two persons, where a request should be made that the meeting is recorded by way of technology recording or agreed note so that no issue arises as to what actually was said by way of explanation in relation to the content of the scientific type letters.

If you are affected by the Cervical Check controversy, please phone us on 01-8744422 and a Client Care Executive will be available to help you. Our Client Care Executives are non-Lawyers with a considerable track record of assisting people. They will organise an appointment with an experienced Solicitor.

M-Law Website Editor