HSE staff in Limerick received ‘death threats’ in aftermath of CervicalCheck scandal

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

HSE staff ‘spat on in public’, it was claimed in Leinster House

HSE staff ‘spat on in public’, it was claimed in Leinster House

THE EXPERT who investigated the CervicalCheck scandal said he was “horrified” to hear that HSE staff in Limerick were “subject to death threats and that one person had been spat on in public”.

Dr Gabriel Scally, the medical expert tasked with leading the scoping inquiry into the smear test scandal, addressed a number of concerns at a joint committee on health at Leinster House this month.

Addressing a number of TDs, Dr Scally said he found it “quite difficult to understand the level of poor management” at CervicalCheck in Limerick, adding that he met “some excellent” staff there also.

“There were two things about it. First, I was horrified to hear the way in which they had been subject to death threats and that one person had been spat on in public and so on.

“Some of those staff members are excellent and dedicated people who deserve a great deal of gratitude for their efforts over the year. They may not have been well led, but many of them are very good. The second thing was that I knew there was a problem with people not having proper job roles and job descriptions.”

Dr Scally said that, at a meeting, he asked staff in attendance to raise their hands if they had a job description. He said one person raised a hand in a room “which was full of people and everyone laughed”.

“I asked why they were laughing and they pointed out that the person had only just joined the organisation which was why there was a job description. None of the others had one. It is very difficult to blame people for failing to a carry out a job when there is no job description. It is very difficult,” he told deputies. 

Annacotty woman, Dr Vicky Phelan prompted Dr Scally’s intensive investigation after exposing the CervicalCheck scandal following a €2.5m High Court settlement against a US laboratory.

Dr Scally made a large number of recommendations in his report, which cited that the CervicalCheck system was “doomed to fail”.

The Limerick Leader contacted the HSE and gardai over allegations of death threats, but did not receive a comment at the time of going to print.