Speaking on foot of the publication on the Progress Report of the Scally Inquiry, co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall TD has expressed her disappointment with the slow progress of the report and the delays experienced by many of the women affected by the scandal when seeking their medical records.
“The most significant finding of Dr Scally’s first report is the enormous importance the women affected place on unrestricted access to their clinical records. Yet, many of the women have reported delays and other obstacles being put in their way when they try and access their information.
“There needs to be clear instruction from Government to the HSE and CervicalCheck that full cooperation is to be given. Moreover, the government needs to keep its promise to legislate for full mandatory disclosure before the end of this Dáil session.”
Further responding to the inquiry’s Progress Report, Deputy Shortall noted:
“We were initially promised the final report by the end of this month, however the timescale has been extended out to the end of the summer. I’m particularly disappointed that one of the reasons for this is the delay in documentation being passed to the inquiry.
“The fact the majority of the 4,000 documents supplied to it were only received last week raises serious questions about the level of cooperation it is receiving from the Department of Health, HSE, CervicalCheck, and others. According to the report, most of these documents were only provided in an unsearchable format, which further compounds my concerns.”
Commenting on the organisation of the Inquiry’s modules, Deputy Shortall questioned the delay in addressing some of the key questions of the women affected.
“The tendering, contracting, and operation of the cytology labs is at the core of many of the questions the women affected have expressed. Yet, they will not be addressed until the fourth module of the inquiry. This seems to be a completely unnecessary delay in dealing with these issues, many of which should be answered immediately,” concluded Deputy Shortall.