Cervical cancer update: This is the commitment that Simon Harris has given to Vicky Phelan 3 years ago

Cervical cancer update: This is the commitment that Simon Harris has given to Vicky Phelan

'These women have been let down'.

The Minister for Heath Simon Harris joins us this week on Girls With Goals. On the podcast, Minister Harris opens up about the recent cervical cancer scandal and reveals the commitment he's made to Vicky Phelan (13.05) and other women affected.


Be sure to click play below to hear the episode in full:


Addressing the recent cervical check scandal, Minister Harris is adamant that something good will come from it. He insisted that we can't allow the scandal to muddy the importance of screening or worse, detract from what it actually is. He admitted that the women involved have been let down by their health service:

'These women have been let down by the fact that information about them was known and not communicated, there was an issue of non disclosure. People in the health service, including doctors, knew various facts about women's health care and didn't tell them. What that should not and cannot be conflated with, and I've spoken to women impacted by this on a very regular basis, it cannot be conflated with  the benefits of a screening programme and what screening  is'.

Minister Harris believes an opportunity has now arisen to have a national conversation on screening:

'Screening is not a diagnosis, there's lots of different screening programmes, they can help save lives, they can detect pre-cancerous cells. They're not a diagnostic tool, and I think we've got to make sure that when a woman goes in to see a doctor or her smear taker she's given very factual, clear, information. What is this screening program about? What are it's limitations? What can it do? What can it not do?'




The Minister also discussed the new procedures that will help victims of clinical negligence avoid the courts, he said it's a damning reflection that after everything these people have been through they then have to deal with the exhausting nature of the court system, and this has to stop:

'I've been watching on my television screens for as long as I can remember far too many people being dragged through the courts to actually get answers, particularly in the area of catastrophic birth injuries. We end up in the same destination, we end up, rightly, providing these people with support and financial assistance, why not do that quicker? Why not do that without having to go to court?'


'Other countries have cracked this and we have to aswell, so we set up a group to look at this and report back within 6 months; how do we have a system that's less adversarial less argumentative that just gets to the bottom of this and provides people with support quicker.'



What's next for the 8th amendment? Find out on the latest episode of Girls With Goals.