Irish women affected by cervical screening scandal to get immediate payment

Irish women and families affected by the cervical cancer controversy are to receive a payment of 2,000 euro ( £1,764) following the publication of a report into the scandal.

Ireland's health minister Simon Harris said that each woman involved and the families of women who have died will get an immediate payment in light of the first findings of the Scally Inquiry.

The inquiry was set up following the failure to inform patients of wrongly interpreted smear test results.

Chaired by Dr Gabriel Scally, the inquiry is to examine all aspects of the cervical check service and all the relevant documents in the Department of Health and Ireland's health service, HSE (Health Service Executive).

Mr Harris said the payment recognised the importance that women did not encounter any financial obstacles to taking part in the scoping inquiry.

He met Dr Scally on Monday for an update into the inquiry and received two reports on the first findings.

"Following the approval of government I am making arrangements for the assistance payment recommended by Dr Scally," Mr Harris said.

"This payment does not in any way bar further payment, it is merely an assistance payment to address any financial obstacle a woman might encounter.

"It is not redress, it is not compensation, it is not the replacement to the support package we have put in place, it is not an alternative to dealing with the issue of retrospective cost, it's an immediate assistance payment."

There are six recommendations included in both reports, which the health minister said he was accepting in full.

Mr Harris added: "I am pleased his (Dr Scally) work is progressing and that he has already come to me with a list of recommendations that are practical and we can immediately action.

"There are six important recommendations to support women and to improve the information available to users of the cervical check service.

"Mr Scally wants the number one priority for any women, or next of kin, who have been impacted by this to be able to tell their story, tell their experience and have that documented."

The recommendations are:

- The provision of an immediate payment of 2,000 euro to each woman involved and to the next of kin of the deceased.

- Start a process to hold structured conversations with each of the women affected by the CervicalCheck issues.

- Provide a more comprehensive guide to the CervicalCheck screening programme online.

- Explicit information to be provided to women about the limitations of the tests and about the possible reasons why screening might miss abnormalities that are present, as these can result in the development of cervical cancer

- A guarantee for women that they will have full and open access to their cervical screening record on request.

- If a problem or error of any significance with the screening or reporting process happens, then open disclosures of all the details will take place in a timely, considerate and accurate manner.