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Ireland: Legislation to cover non-disclosure issues that arose in cervical check controversy

More than 200 women were affected by failures in Ireland’s CervicalCheck screening system. It emerged in 2018 that 221 women and families were not told about misreported smear tests.

The Minister for Health said that non-disclosure issues which arose in the cervical check screening controversy will be legislated for to prevent it from happening again.

Stephen Donnelly said new legislation will address the negligence issues and ensure that the failure to inform the women of the clinical audit of their screening will “never happen again”.

Mr Donnelly was discussing a number of amendments at the committee stage of Ireland's Patient Safety Bill.

The new legislation will require the mandatory open disclosure of serious patient safety incidents, and sets out a list of incidents which must be reported to the health watchdog, Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

Mr Donnelly said that he will introduce an amendment at the report stage of the Bill that will provide for non-disclosure and will deal with issues around delayed diagnosis and delayed screening.

Mr Donnelly said: “I’ve had lengthy discussions with the department on this and it doesn’t fit neatly with this Bill because the serious patient safety issues which result in death or serious harm, they are very clear and binary.

“Legislating around delayed diagnosis and delayed screening, it is really complex and doesn’t fit neatly in this Bill, however my view is that the non-disclosure that happened in cervical check, even though it doesn’t neatly fit here, should still be legislated for."

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Source: The Independent, 11 March 2022


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