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Review into cervical cancer checks scandal ‘not backing commission move’

Families involved have criticised officials after parts of the report were leaked before publication.

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Dr Gabriel Scally said a CervicalCheck commission is not needed, according to reports (Niall Carson/PA)

A commission of investigation into the cervical cancer smear test controversy which affected more than 200 women does not need to be established, an official review is expected to conclude.

It has been reported that review chair Dr Gabriel Scally has concluded he has found out everything that needed to be uncovered into the CervicalCheck scandal, which saw 221 women with cervical cancer not informed that smear test results showing them to be clear were inaccurate, and that revised test results kept from them.

It is understood that Dr Scally briefed Health Minister Simon Harris on Monday on his review’s findings. A 200-page report is expected to be published on Wednesday.

There have been criticisms from the affected women and their families after the report was leaked before they could read it.

Mr Harris has described the leak as “extremely regrettable”, adding that it should not have happened.

According the The Irish Times, Dr Scally’s report does not believe a commission of investigation is needed. He is expected to say in the report that there are other ways to deal with the issues.

However, the Government will decide whether a commission will be established.

Mr Harris told RTE Morning Ireland that the bulk of the report is not in the public domain and that it is “important we let the report be published” on Wednesday.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the leak as “disgusting”.

Speaking in Co Donegal, he said: “This is not a normal story, this is not a scoop. This is a very sensitive issue that affects some women who are very ill and a lot of families who are grieving – and this is something I am appalled to find out has happened.

“From what I have found out, the report itself has not been leaked, there are recommendations that have not been leaked. One aspect has been.

“It’s really disgusting what has happened today, notwithstanding I would ask people to defer reacting to the report until it has been published and they have an opportunity to study it.

“We need to give people an opportunity to read the Scally report themselves to understand why he’s suggesting it may not be necessary or desirable [to hold a commission], then we need to hear from the most important people in all of this, the women who are affected and their families.

“The original plan was meet with the Cabinet in the morning at the same time Dr Scally briefed the patient reps and publish it tomorrow afternoon and allow people to read, digest and consider it.

“That has had to be modified today so efforts are being made to brief the patients reps this afternoon, with the Cabinet considering the report tomorrow morning then approving it.”

Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene died from cervical cancer last year after two undisclosed false tests, said he was “heartbroken”.

The Cork man tweeted: “Heartbroken at disrespect shown to families at leaking of parts of report.”

Vicky Phelan, whose High Court settlement exposed the scandal earlier this year, will be briefed along with Mr Teap and a number of other women and their families by Mr Harris before the Scally report will be published in full.

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Dr Gabriel Scally said a CervicalCheck commission is not needed, according to reports (Niall Carson/PA)