Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and died last year after two undisclosed false negative cervical cancer tests, has said the priority now is to ensure the immediate implementation of the recommendations from the Scally Report.

Speaking after the publication of the report into the CervicalCheck screening programme, Mr Teap said: "We expect the Government to implement this without delay in order for us to improve the standards of the cervical screening programme and bring it to a level that all of the women of Ireland and the families can trust and rely on."

Mr Teap was speaking to the media along with women and families affected by the CervicalCheck crisis.

"There is still a lot more work to be done in going into more detail around the failings of the system and who is, and was, at fault", he said.

"Whatever route is taken after this, either a Commission of Investigation or an inquiry, it cannot impact or delay the implementation of these very, very critical recommendations", he said.

Mr Teap said Dr Gabriel Scally should be offered the opportunity to investigate further the failures he has uncovered whether it be in a commission or an inquiry.

Lorraine Walsh, one of the 221 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy, said the organisational structure of CervicalCheck, the lack of defined job roles, and the lack of quality assurance in the laboratories were sources of grave concern.

Ms Walsh said the contents of the report has proven to be "every distressing and upsetting".

She said it raised very concerning issues around the CPL lab in Texas and the outsourcing of Irish smear tests to other non-CPL labs, as well as the lack of awareness of this in CervicalCheck, which needs to be investigated further.

She said it was upsetting to learn that the cost of outsourcing to labs in the US was so heavily weighted when choosing these for testing.

Ms Walsh said it is imperative that the recommendations of Dr Scally's report are implemented immediately to improve screening in Ireland.

She stressed that cervical screening saved lives, and continues to save the lives of thousands of women, and it was important that women continue to get screened for cervical cancer. 

Stephen Teap, Dr Gabriel Scally and Lorraine Walsh

She criticised the lack of open disclosure from consultants and said women's lives are in the hands of the doctors and she said she is just lucky to have lived to tell the tale.

Speaking later on RTÉ's Six One News, Ms Walsh questioned if a commission of inquiry would provide more answers than we currently have.  

Mr Teap and Ms Walsh said they would seek to get reviews published in three months' time.

There is a "lot of mistrust and hurt among the women and families affected", Ms Walsh said.

Mr Teap said his wife worked for the HSE for 15 years but "everything let her down."

Vicky Phelan, whose case was the first to come to light after she was awarded €2.5m in a settlement against the US lab that carried out the test that gave a false negative result, described the leak of the Scally Report as "another kick in the teeth".

She said she was not sure there was any merit in "having heads roll" as a result of the crisis.

She said she was shocked to discover from the report how big a factor money was in choosing which labs carried out smear tests.

She said in her case, her slides were not in the margin of error, leaving her to believe that they were not checked at all or were checked by people who were not qualified to do so.

Mr Teap said whether he pursued a legal case depends on an independent review being done of his wife Irene's test slides.

Ms Walsh said she is also waiting a review of her slides, before deciding on legal action.

HSE welcomes publication of Scally Review

The HSE has welcomed the publication of the Scally Review, and reiterated its deepest apology to all those women and those families affected.

It said that at the centre of the issue was its failure to communicate with the women who were the subject of the audit.

The HSE said it accepted that the manner in which women were told was inconsistent and in many instances ill-judged and poorly handled.

It also said that its priority over the past number of months has been to support the women and families involved and continue to stabilise the cervical screening programme. 

It said it will move swiftly to implement the 50 recommendations.

Earlier, Minister for Health Simon Harris said the Government would not make a "knee-jerk" decision on whether or not to establish a Commission of Investigation into CervicalCheck.

He said the review found huge failings that need to be addressed, and that it also identified a huge breach of trust by the non-disclosure of clinical audits to the women affected.

He said that in the coming days he would meet the women affected and the Opposition to discuss the next steps.

The Scally Review found "serious gaps" in expertise and governance of the CervicalCheck screening programme.

Presenting his report, Dr Scally said the problems uncovered "are redolent of a whole-system failure".


Scoping Inquiry into CervicalCheck Screening Programme - Final Report
Cervical Check inquiry - Who is Dr Gabriel Scally? 

The 50 recommendations of the Scally Review


Yesterday, Mr Harris said he still planned to set up a Commission of Investigation into the crisis, despite the author of the review into the controversy saying he did not think one was needed.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that two good things can come from the CervicalCheck controversy: creating a culture of open disclosure; making cervical cancer a rare disease.

He said that achieving this will involve extending HPV vaccines to boys and girls and improving screening services.

Mr Varadkar said it remains the Government's position to have a commission of investigation and that has "not yet been changed".

However, he said that he would like everyone to look at why Dr Scally suggested not having one.

"It's because he does not believe we would find facts that he did not find already," he said.

The Taoiseach added that he really needs to hear from the women and their families to hear what their wishes are.

He said ultimately this was a decision for the Oireachtas and not the Government.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said his party will be guided by the Scally Review, and also the reaction of the women and families affected, when considering whether a Commission of Investigation should be established ⁦into the controversy.

Sinn Féin said the Scally report needs to be debated by the Dáil and the party remains committed to a Commission of Inquiry.

While Labour Health Spokesperson Alan Kelly said Dr Scally should be retained to see that his recommendations are implemented and he should work with an investigation team.

He said this further investigation should have "tight terms of reference to find out how, when and why the failures he has identified in the audit process took place in order to ensure accountability is seen to happen".

Meanwhile, co-leader of the Social Democrats Roisin Shortall said the report was very comprehensive, and it pointed to the weak governance systems in the HSE and CervicalCheck. 

She said Dr Scally had lifted the lid on what is a very paternalistic culture in the health service.