Belfast Telegraph

High Court judge to find compensation alternative for cervical cancer cases

A number of women in Ireland with cervical cancer were not told that smear test results showing them to be in the clear were inaccurate.

A High Court judge will examine alternative approaches to agreeing compensation following the cervical cancer controversy, the Government said.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan has been tasked with identifying further mechanisms to avoid adversarial court proceedings for the women and families affected by the CervicalCheck fall out.

A number of women in Ireland with cervical cancer were not told that smear test results showing them to be in the clear were inaccurate and the revised test results were kept from them.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Notwithstanding that parties always retain the right to go to court, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms must be found which avoid causing unnecessary distress for the women and their loved ones.”

A total of 221 women were involved in the cancer controversy, 18 of whom have since died.

Meanwhile, the woman at the centre of the Irish CervicalCheck scandal has held a “frank” meeting with the Taoiseach relaying her concerns over the Government’s handling of the issue.

Vicky Phelan’s cancer was missed in a smear test three years before she was diagnosed with the disease.

I was brutally honest about how harrowing the courtroom is for women since I have already been through it Vicky Phelan

Ms Phelan said the two-hour meeting with the Taoiseach was frank, adding: “He knew I meant business.

“The Taoiseach promised me that he meant what he said and that the state will attempt to settle all cases through mediation.

“I was brutally honest about how harrowing the courtroom is for women since I have already been through it and I was very clear I don’t want to see any more women in the courtroom.”

Ms Phelan, 43, settled a High Court action against a US lab in April for 2.5 million euro after her cancer was missed in a smear test taken as part of the CervicalCheck programme.

The missed smear test was discovered in 2014, after her cancer diagnosis, but she was not told about it until 2017.

bpanews_64ece570-2969-4b0b-bbf3-019ae5aa45ce_embedded237830640
Vicky Phelan arriving at the Department of the Taoiseach in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

The Taoiseach confirmed the preferred option is a public commission of inquiry.

He told Ms Phelan that, if required, legislation will be brought forward so the inquiry can be made open to the public.

“Letters of consent will be sent out to the 221 affected families at first to get the independent review going, letters to the larger population of women involved involved in the audit will follow,
that’s expected to take three to four months,” she said.

Ms Phelan said she also raised concerns that the Government’s proposed new government safety bill does not sanction individual health care providers.

The Bill says fines for breaches of the patient safety law would be imposed on healthcare providers rather than individual practitioners.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph