Belfast Telegraph

Varadkar ‘very dissatisfied’ smear test review has not started yet

Dr Gabriel Scally, chair of the inquiry, has already reported difficulty in receiving the information he needs to complete his report.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is extremely dissatisfied the review of 3,000 smear tests due to be finished in May has not started yet.

The Public Accounts Committee heard on Thursday the independent review of the test will not be completed in time to help the Scally Inquiry into what happened at CervicalCheck.

The Scally Inquiry is expected to report on why women who had cervical cancer were not told their clear smear test results were inaccurate and the revised test results kept from them.

Mr Varadkar said: “I’m very dissatisfied that the actual review of the slides hasn’t started yet but we have to give independent bodies time to do the work.

“Back in May we thought this was a job could be done quickly but we now understand it will take longer.

“We’ll do everything we can to ensure the work is done as soon as possible.”

There have been concerns the inquiry could not be a comprehensive review of what went wrong with the screening results without the independently reviewed smear tests.

Dr Gabriel Scally, chair of the inquiry, has already reported difficulty in receiving the information he needs to complete his report.

Mr Varadkar added: “The Scally report has a number of different terms of reference and he’ll still be able to report on those.

“I have made it very clear to everyone that we expect them to fully corporate with Dr Scally.

“I didn’t personally hear him say that he could not access information, but the position from government is that we have asked Dr Scally to carry out this inquiry on behalf of government and anyone who is not cooperating with him is not cooperating with government.”

When asked if those he had told might not be listening, Mr Varadkar said: “Well I’ll have to say it again then because we want to get to the bottom of this, people want the answers that they have a right to.

“We want those answers as soon as possible.”

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