The update is included in the Implementation Plan for the recommendations in Dr Gabriel Scally’s Report of the Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Programme, published today.
According to the implementation plan, one official is engaged on the matter “on a full time basis” and meetings have also been held with HIQA, the HSE, the Mental Health Commission and the State Claims Agency in relation to the progression of the Patient Safety Bill.
“Mandatory requirements to meet this recommendation have been included in the HSE’s interim revision of its open disclosure policy,” according to the plan.
Dr Scally recommended that “the option of a decision not to disclose an error or mishap to a patient must only be available in a very limited number of well defined and explicit circumstances, such as incapacity. Each and every proposed decision not to disclose must be subject to external scrutiny and this scrutiny process must involve a minimum of two independent patient advocates.”
Publication of the implementation plan follows the acceptance by Government of all 50 recommendations in Dr Scally’s report, published in September.
Minister for Health Simon Harris said “The publication of this Implementation Plan marks a key step in the delivery of the changes recommended by Dr Scally. It will underpin the work required to ensure that the issues which have arisen in relation to open disclosure, governance and management and other key areas are fully addressed. I requested Dr Scally to undertake an independent review of the Plan, and I welcome his initial assessment of this Plan and his confirmation that he is satisfied that all parties are taking seriously his findings and recommendations, that resources have been allocated to take the work forward at a high level of priority, and that the proposed work programme is impressive in its commitment to making rapid progress.”
“I want to take this opportunity to thank once again the women and families who met with Dr Scally, and whose contribution was vital in the development of his report’s recommendations”.
The Implementation Plan sets out 126 actions addressing Dr Scally’s recommendations, across the areas of women and women’s health, organisation and governance, laboratory services and procurement, open disclosure, cancer registration, other screening programmes and resolution.
The development of the plan was overseen by the CervicalCheck Steering Committee, established by the Minister in June to provide oversight and assurance in relation to managing the response to the CervicalCheck issues, and ensure the implementation of the key decisions taken by Government.
In parallel with the implementation of Dr Scally’s recommendations, the Committee “will continue to progress strategic priorities including the implementation of the switch to HPV testing as the primary screening test, in tandem with the extension of the HPV vaccination to boys”, according to the Department.
Minister Harris concluded: “We know that screening alone is not enough to prevent all women from getting cervical cancer – false negatives are an inherent part of such a programme. But a well organised screening programme, when combined with HPV vaccination for boys and girls, can make this a rare disease. That is this Government’s goal and that is why we are committed to introducing the HPV vaccine for boys, as recommended by HIQA, as well as to implementing the recommended improvements in our cervical screening programme.”