PAC criticises HSE after members only receive documents shortly before meeting

Labour's Alan Kelly said: "To send us this information as late as they did is frankly just disgraceful"

PAC criticises HSE after members only receive documents shortly before meeting

Alan Kelly at PAC meeting. Image: Oireachtas TV

The Public Accounts Committee has criticised the HSE after the committee only received critical documents shortly before their meeting with witnesses in relation to the Cervical Check scandal.

Members said they only received the five pages of information and responses this morning.

Senior staff from the Department of Health, the HSE and the National Cancer Registry are due to appear before the PAC today, and will face questions in relation to who knew when and what about the cervical screening controversy.

However, the PAC has adjourned until 10.30am to read the memos.

Labour's Health Spokesperson Alan Kelly says it is disgraceful to be sent the information so late.

He said: "To send us this information as late as they did is frankly just disgraceful, given the topic we're dealing with.

"Secondly, we haven't had time to look at these - we're going to have to go through our correspondence and all other matters, and then suspend for a significant period of time."

Deputy Kelly added: "This is a big jigsaw - we're getting pieces all the time, so we need to add them in and have time to prepare."

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy suggested delays in receiving documents mean "you hardly have time to read it, never mind give some serious consideration to the questions you might form to pose to the people who are going to be here today".

Yesterday, Vicky Phelan - whose case brought the Cervical Check scandal to national attention - said she is not looking for revenge, but wants to ensure cases like hers never happen again.

She described in detail the gruelling medical treatment she has had to undergo for her cervical cancer.

She also said it is a disgrace that doctors knew she had been given a wrong diagnosis, but did not tell her until years later.

Members of the PAC also heard from Stephen Teap, whose late wife Irene was one of the women where a cervical screening test produced a false negative result.

Mr Teap told the committee: "It seems to be that the people in these senior positions that knew about all of these memos in 2016 are the same people that are in senior positions today.

"I don't understand how they can sit in these positions while inquiries are going on. We have dead women here. We have women who have been given terminal diagnoses - death sentences."