!-- 634c7aa55dca3b282b7c80846a1dd8060284ae7f -->

The government pledges to improve the cervical screening program

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has said the government will improve the cervical screening program after criticism from CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan.

s Phelan took advantage of the lack of government action, saying that while most of the recommendations from the Scally report have been adopted, the more serious recommendations are not.

This includes the introduction of the mandatory publication of information.

Ms. Phelan wrote in a Sunday newspaper calling on Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly not to wait until she dies before making changes, but to “do the right thing and correct the mistakes of the past.”

She called on the government to set up the steering committee to oversee CervicalCheck, make changes to the CervicalCheck Tribunal, and help Labor leader Alan Kelly enact legislation to amend the Civil Liability Act.

The campaigner said she was upset that the state and the HSE did not apologize to Ruth Morrissey for her death last Sunday.

Close to

CervicalCheck campers Vicky Phelan (right) and Lorraine Walsh arrive for the funeral of fellow campaigner Ruth Morrissey at Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen, Co Limerick (Brian Lawless / PA)

Responding to her criticism, Varadkar said the government will introduce patient safety legislation in the Dail.

“We have reserved money to develop a cervical control lab here in Ireland so that we can build capacity to run the tests in Ireland rather than abroad,” he added.

“The CervicalCheck Tribunal has been established by law, but it is not working. That should work now.

“I think one of the things that Ruth Morrissey accomplished in the Supreme Court verdict is that it outlines a framework against which the state’s claims authorities can settle matters quickly and they must do that.

“But we have to take into account that there will be times when there will be a dispute over the facts, with some experts saying that a Pap smear has been misread or others will say it was not real and it was not negligence.

“If there’s a dispute over the facts, you need some sort of hearing, which is unfortunately inevitable and I wish I had realized that a little bit better two years ago.”

FATHER