Cancer controversy: director of CervicalCheck stands down

Posted April 29, 2018

Minister Harris and the HSE director general, Tony O'Brien, have agreed that an worldwide peer review of CervicalCheck needs to take place to ensure ongoing confidence in it.

"I do believe in the programme, cervical smears do save women's lives and what I don't want to happen is more women diagnosed with cervical cancer and I thought it was important that I come out and say that because I think people would listen to me rather than the HSE at the moment".

The HSE said it wished to acknowledge Professor Flannelly and to formally thank her for "the enormous dedication, contribution and expert knowledge" that she brought to the CervicalCheck Programme over the past 12 years.

The clinical director of the CervicalCheck programme, Dr Grainne Flannelly, has stood down from her role "with immediate effect". I have chose to step aside to allow the Programme to continue it's important work'.

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'I have sent in a senior team to CervicalCheck, they have pulled the files of all 206 women, these are women that would have been in 15 different hospitals around the country, a lot of different clinicians'.

She revealed that Simon Harris had called her personally to apologise for the health service letting her down. It said it "considered essential that the remainder of the Leadership team of the CervicalCheck Programme remain in situ".

During the week, the Fine Gael TD announced that he is now organising for repeat smear tests to be arranged free of charge following the recent news that several cases of cervical cancer have gone misdiagnosed.

The figures were released following the controversy surrounding Vicky Phelan (43), a mother of two from Limerick, who was given incorrect cancer results and is now terminally ill.

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Minister Harris had said on Friday he now can not have confidence in the managers of the screening programme.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer around the same time but she only found out about that review past year.

This week Mrs Phelan was awarded €2.5 million from the high Court, which she said would go towards making her final days more comfortable for her and her two young children.

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