Minister to receive progress report on Cervical Check programme 'in days'

Dr Gabriel Scally is to complete a scoping exercise by the end of June

Minister to receive progress report on Cervical Check programme 'in days'

Minister for Health Simon Harris addresses the media at a press conference at Buswells Hotel, Dublin | Image: Aisling Ennis/PA Wire/PA Images

A progress report on the Scoping Inquiry into the Cervical Check programme is to be published "in the coming days".

Dr Gabriel Scally is set to give the Health Minister Simon Harris an update this week.

This is ahead of the completion of his preliminary inquiry into the controversy, which is due at the end of the month.

The medical expert has previously said he may not be able to apportion blame as part of his work.

He explained: "It may not be possible for me to attribute blame, and certainly to individuals - I think that would probably be outside my remit.

"But if I find serious problems, I will certainly be pointing to those serious problems - and it will be a matter then for the next stage of the process."

Minister Harris told On The Record here on Newstalk the details of the progress report will be published and made available as soon as he receives them.

"There is huge progress being made - I think so far there's 105 additional medical cards have been issued, we have women rightfully requesting counselling appointment, physio appointments... so there is progress being made.

"But I do need to make this point: I was determined when we put this scheme in place not for this to be some sort of rigid scheme - cause the needs of every woman or her family will vary.

"So what we're doing is we're asking a public health nurse in the local area to visit each woman at a time that suits the woman... sit down with the woman in the privacy of her home and say 'What does this package look like for you?'.

"The State has wronged these women"

"For some it might be access to an experimental drug, for some it might be childcare costs, others costs of going to the hospital... so I didn't want to have a 'one size fits all' because there isn't one size here - that's lots of different families".

"In my view the State has wronged these women by not disclosing their audit - so by not telling the women about their audit was wronged and has added to their pain and hurt and the pain and hurt of their families.

"The State needs to rectify that - that’s why we're putting the package of supports in place (and) that's why we're making sure there's a mediation option, as well as a legal option".

"We know in screening you have false negatives... that is different though to negligence - where it should have been found and was missed.

"What we do have to establish, and what the women of Ireland have a right to establish, is which was it - and which was it in each and every case".

On the Scoping Inquiry by Dr Scally, Mr Harris said: "We've asked him to finish his work by the end of June... but we've also asked him to provide a progress report at the start of June, so I expect to receive that in the coming days."

A website has also been set up to keep women affected updated, and also to allow them to contribute to the review.