Cancer Scandal

Clear answers on the cervical cancer scandal could be delayed even further after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar admitted thousands of women potentially affected will have to individually give permission before their tests can be examined.

News of the extra cases emerged as Health Minister Simon Harris admitted the need to contact up to 3,000 women who may have been affected by the cervical cancer tests scandal could delay the planned State investigation into the crisis by “four or five months”.

Mr Varadkar has now confirmed that cases of all 3,000 women who developed cervical cancer in the last decade are to be examined by a team of international cyto-pathologists organised by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

These include 1,482 cases of cervical cancer already examined by CervicalCheck and another 1,500 whose cancer was notified to the National Cancer Registry.

High Court Action

The Cervical Cancer scandal first came into the public eye in May 2018 when Vicky Phelan settled a High Court action against a US laboratory for €2.5 million over incorrect smear test results from 2011. Following this Dr Gabriel Scally, the Belfast-born, former NHS doctor was appointed to lead a preliminary investigation into the cervical smear test scandal. It was first anticipated that his report would be available by the end of June but this has proven not be to be the case. It has now emerged that Dr Scally has been met with unacceptable resistance from the Health Service Executive. He has been particularly critical of the HSE ‘s failure to give documents to his inquiry in a timely fashion and he has also confirmed that a significant proportion of the correspondence which was provided was given in a non searchable format and in some cases was difficult to read.

Dr Scally- Scoping Inquiry

The scoping inquiry was set up to examine key elements of the cervical cancer scandal including why so many of the women who developed cancer after getting an incorrect smear test result were not informed an internal review was carried out on their case.

The inquiry is also tasked with examining the quality of testing, the out-sourcing of analysing smear tests to a laboratory in the United States as well as the role of the HSE and Department of Children.

Successful complex Medical Negligence Actions

Gillian O’Mahony heads up the Women’s Medical Negligence Department at Lynch Solicitors and has successfully concluded many complex  Medical Negligence actions in all areas of clinical and medical negligence litigation. Gillian is a mother of three young children and is keenly aware of the sensitive nature of Gynaecological & Obstetric Injury Claims. Gillian has experience in dealing with child birth injury cases and other gynaecological injuries and brings an empathetic and compassionate approach to these cases particularly, where woman are embarrassed or reluctant to discuss their injuries.

Our female led Medical Negligence Department has particular experience in representing women in a wide range of gynaecological and cancer cases and since the breaking of this scandal Lynch Solicitors have been contacted by a number of women who have concerns about tests that they had carried under the cervical screening programme.


If you have been affected by the cervical cancer scandal, you can contact a member of our team on 052 612 4344 or at

The material contained in this article is provided for general information purposes only.  We advise you to seek specific advice from us about any legal decision or course of action.

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