Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he will try to deal with the issue of women who may not be able to get access to the CervicalCheck Tribunal.  

Access to the tribunal is based on a finding of "discordance" from a review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists  in the UK or the CervicalCheck audit. 

Mr Harris told the Oireachtas Committee on Health, that 63% of woman on the cancer registry consented to the RCOG review, but 37% did not consent.

The RCOG review is examining the slides of just over 1,600 women with cervical cancer.

The review plans to determine, wherever possible, any failures to prevent cancer, or to intervene at an earlier stage.

The committee was discussing the CervicalCheck Tribunal Bill 2019 - which would allow a tribunal to be set up for the women affected by the scandal. 

Minister Harris was responding to Labour's health spokesperson Alan Kelly who said the bill, with regards to how many women can participate in the tribunal, is too narrow. 

Deputy Kelly said he had concerns about the legislation and he said he was not sure if he would recommend that someone use the tribunal because of the way it is currently constituted.

There was a cohort of women who could have been advised not to go through the RCOG review and he said now they do not have access to the tribunal. 

There needed to be an amendment to the proposed legislation to deal with the women who are outside the process, he added.

In response, Minister Harris said he would try to deal with the issue but the RCOG review was now closed and he said it was important it moves on to reporting in the autumn because there were many women waiting. 

He also said they needed to be careful not to second guess why women with cervical cancer had chosen not to engage with the review by the RCOG.

He said for some people their cancer journey may have ended a number of years ago and they may now be in good health and they do not wish to have an independent review. 

The minister said nobody chose to enter the RCOG process as a passport for going to the tribunal because, he said, no one knew about the tribunal at that stage.