Vicky Phelan criticises Govt handling of CervicalCheck crisis

Campaigner Vicky Phelan has criticised the Taoiseach over the Government’s handling of the CervicalCheck crisis.

Speaking at an event in Limerick she described the Taoiseach as “all talk and no action” and added that she did not get the sense from Leo Varadkar that he was treating the issue with sufficient importance.

However, Ms Phelan praised the work of Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Later on Twitter, Ms Phelan said that ten months on from when she exposed the “debacle” many answers have still not been provided.

These include the status of the test slides of the women affected and when the review of these slides will start.

Ms Phelan also asked when legislation would be put in place to establish a tribunal following on from the report of Justice Meenan.

She said there must be answers too as to when resources will be put in place to clear the backlog so that women will not have to wait up to 20 weeks for test results.

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said that Mr Varadkar had the highest regard for Vicky Phelan and her input continues to guide the Government response.

“The Taoiseach and Government are much guided and act on the advice of Minister Harris when it comes to CervicalCheck as he is the line Minister dealing with it. The Taoiseach, like Vicky, has said he wants something good to come out of this controversy,” the spokesperson said.

They added this would mean implementing the Scally Report in full and working to ensure cervical cancer becomes a rare disease.

This will involve expanding the HPV vaccine to include boys and to improve screening by becoming one of the first countries in the world to bring in a new smear test.

They said the Taoiseach and Minister Harris were working together to make sure both these things happen this year.