A retired obstetrician gynaecologist has expressed concern that symphysiotomy patients are being excluded from the Government's redress scheme because they have failed to provide documentation proving they underwent the procedure.

Roger Clements was reacting to an article in today's Irish Times newspaper.

It reported that a retired High Court judge, appointed by the Government to oversee the redress scheme, said her work "has proceeded slowly because of a dearth of supporting documentation to establish that a symphysiotomy was performed and significant disability resulted".

Maureen Harding Clark is quoted as saying "she understood some women have been unable to establish their belief they had a symphysiotomy because their records are not readily available".

In a statement to RTÉ's Investigations Unit, Mr Clements said: "These women carry on their bodies clear and sufficient proof that this operation has been performed.

"In order to divide the symphysis pubis, the surgeon must first cut through the skin overlying the joint.

"Such an incision, usually no more that 3-4 cm long, will leave a permanent scar. Such scars are linear but often with evidence also of the sutures inserted to keep them together. There is no other reason for a woman to carry such a scar in this area."

According to Mr Clements, the scar is and should be accepted as unequivocal evidence that symphysiotomy has been performed.

Previous investigations revealed that up to 1,500 women underwent symphysiotomies in Ireland.

The procedure involved cutting the pelvic bone to create more space during childbirth.

Long-term effects for most women included impaired walking, chronic pain and incontinence.  

Following years of campaigning by symphysiotomy patients, their families and supporters, the Government established a redress scheme to compensate women who underwent the procedure.

The scheme offers three categories of payment - €50,000, €100,000 and €150,000 - depending on the severity of injuries.

According to The Irish Times report, 53 women who applied for up to €150,000 compensation under the State redress scheme were told they were ineligible after it was ruled they did not undergo the procedure.