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NWCI responds to the publication of the Scally CervicalCheck Inquiry

Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today responded to the Scally CervicalCheck Inquiry, urging the recommendations to be implemented urgently and ensure that women’s health is prioritised as a matter of urgency by the Minister for Health.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

Dr Scally’s report vindicates what we have consistently heard from the women affected and patient advocates. It condemns decisions not to communicate with women after the audit process, while also containing sharp criticism of a system wide failure, and the lack of compassion shown to seriously ill women. The women involved wanted to know why this happened and what went wrong. As recognised by Dr Scally, they really want someone involved to say sorry, and they want to ensure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to anyone else. The report’s 50 recommendations provide the opportunity for real change across the screening system. They are needed to overhaul the system and put in place an automatic process for women to be informed when things go wrong.

 “One of the most stark comments contained in Dr Scally’s report is “Why does this always happen to women?” The Government needs to prioritise women’s health. The Minister for Health must ensure women’s health issues are given committed attention within the health system. The first act by Government must be funding for the Women’s Health Action Plan in Budget 2019.”

Dr Cliona Loughnane, Women’s Health Coordinator said,

“Particular attention should be paid to Dr Scally’s recommendation that the Department of Health facilitates meetings with women and their clinicians, and for the leadership of the medical community in Ireland to sit down and listen to the women involved. This is necessary to acknowledge the deep pain caused. This is also important to recognise that the women have insights which should be used to ensure that such a crisis does not emerge again.”

“Screening is hugely important in detecting early abnormalities. There will be further tragedy if this leads to a reduction in women’s use of the service. A trust-worthy system requires mechanisms to collect and respond to women’s experiences. Ongoing dialogue with women must be built in to how the CervicalCheck system works in the future.”


For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, 085 8619087.