Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan has expressed his sympathies and “huge regret” for the women victimised by the CervicalCheck scandal, but stopped short of offering an apology.
“I certainly have huge regret about what’s happened to women in this situations,” he said, and that he “of course” had sympathy for those involved.
“I do now, and I have done on many occasions in the past, expressed that freely openly, absolutely…because it was a basic commitment to women that wasn’t honoured.”
His comments come shortly after the settlement of a High Court action against the HSE by 32-year old mother-of-two Lynsey Bennett, who is seriously ill with cervical cancer. She alleges that the health service misinterpreted her cervical smear slides.
When asked by an Independent.ie journalist if he should apologise to Bennett as the country’s Chief Medical Officer, he said that he was “not aware of the facts” of the case and doesn’t know “any of the details”.
“I know that a letter was read out in respect of that particular case by the clinical director of the programme that’s addressed that issue,” he said.
When asked if he wanted to apologise to any of the other women affected by the scandal, he said that the State and Taoiseach had already apologised, and that the scandal “should not have happened.”
“But it didn’t impact the clinical care of those women. Because this was after the fact, after the diagnosis was made. This is after, it was information that wasn’t known. It only came to light or could have come to light after the fact. The failure of this particular programme was to honour a commitment that was given that wasn’t lived up to to share that information back with the women,” he said.