'Unfortunately it takes shouting about' to speed up compensation tribunal, says Vicky Phelan
Vicky Phelan has campaigned to have the special tribunal for women affected by the cervical cancer scandal brought into effect much sooner than the government had originally promised.
The exceptionally brave and strong-willed Vicky Phelan has once again demonstrated her commitment to reforming the health service.
Vicky has spoken out again about the delay in enacting a compensation tribunal so that terminally ill women with cervical cancer can have their claims processed before it’s too late.
The 43-year-old mum spoke on NewsTalk today to say she had been contacted by a young mum of two with stage four cervical cancer. The woman wishes to remain anonymous and is worried about going to court due to how ill she is, but with two children under ten and a husband she wants to ensure that they are financially supported and with no other alternative available to her yet, inevitably must pursue court action.
The late Emma Mhic Mhathúna and Vicky Phelan both took the HSE to court following the CervicalCheck controversy, where 221 women received false negative results under the national screening programme.
The young mum, in addition to having to go to court and do "what the Taoiseach had promised no other woman would have to do" is also unable to access the same care package as the 221 group, which allows women to claim for a range of costs such as travel, childcare, and medical appointments, as well as treatments and counselling.
Late last year the government assured Vicky that a compensation tribunal would be put in place for women affected by the sandal but that this could take until the end of 2019.
As a result of Vicky's ardent campaigning, Leo Varadkar has now pledged to ensure the legislation is drafted, published, and enacted in the first half of this year.
"One of the things I respect and admire most about VP is that she has said that she would like something good to come from the tragedy that’s affected her. I share that objective."
Vicky has expressed her disappointment that it takes "shouting about" to enact any change within the health service and is also demanding that test results are delivered to women in a timely manner (currently some women are waiting up to 20 weeks).
"Simon Harris needs to pump some resources into this", she says.
This success in bringing the tribunal forward follows her victory in December to make Pembrolizumab, the drug that was beneficial in Vicky's treatment, readily available to cervical cancer sufferers.