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NWCI calls for Cabinet to urgently agree the provision of compassionate supports

Published: Friday, May 11, 2018

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today called on the Government to urgently agree the provision of compassionate supports for the 209 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy.

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland said:

“It is urgent that the Cabinet today agrees the provision of compassionate supports for the 209 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy, including Vicky Phelan, Emma Mhic Mhatúna and the family of Irene Teap. Provision must be made immediately to improve their care and ease their suffering in whatever way that is possible. Beyond these initial supports, the Government commitment to redress for this group of women must now be outlined and enacted.”

“On Wednesday the 9th, NWCI met with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD to discuss CervicalCheck. We welcome that the Minister for Health is bringing proposals to Cabinet today and would urge that access to treatments is included, along with medical cards, counselling and transport to appointments. We also discussed the need for the commitment to redress for these women, made by the Taoiseach, to be clarified and fulfilled.”

Dr Cliona Loughnane, Women’s Health Coordinator said:

“There are measures immediately required to restore women’s confidence in CervicalCheck. The Minister must expedite the introduction of the more effective HPV-test for the programme. This test has been shown to be more accurate in detecting precancerous abnormalities and early stage cervical cancer.”

“It is vital for all women to receive clear guidance at this time and we asked that a letter be sent to all women enrolled in CervicalCheck to apologise for the confusion and concern which has developed and to clearly explain which women should return for a repeat smear test, or should have a look-back at their existing smear. Over the past fortnight, women have been contacting NWCI either because they could not get through to the Helpline, or because they were waiting for a call-back. All necessary resources must be made available to deal with Helpline queries, to ensure appointments are available and that smear test results are delivered quickly.”

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