CervicalCheck leaders to remain pending review

The HSE has said it is “essential” that the leadership of the CervicalCheck Programme remains in place pending a review into the smear test controversy.

The executive has made a plea for the review to be completed before any judgement is passed on the programme’s management “in keeping with the usual principles of natural justice”.

The plea was made following the resignation of the CervicalCheck programme clinical director, Grainne Flannelly, over the weekend, following comments from Health Minister Simon Harris, who said he could not say he has confidence in the programme’s management.

The CervicalCheck programme manager, John Gleeson, remains in his role.

“The international peer review, agreed with the minister during this week, will determine any learnings and opportunities for improvement within the CervicalCheck programme,” the HSE said in a statement over the weekend.

“The HSE is confident that, in keeping with the usual principles of natural justice, the Minister would expect that this peer review would be completed and appropriate procedures followed before there is any judgement passed on the role of the clinical and managerial leadership of the programme.

“Any improvements will be prioritised for implementation in order to maintain confidence in the service. In advance of the peer review being completed it is considered essential that the the remainder of the leadership team of the programme remain in situ.”

In resigning on Saturday, Prof Flannelly apologised for the distress caused.

“I am sorry that recent events caused distress and worry to women,” she said. “I have decided to step aside to allow the programme to continue its important work.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the doctors, nurses and programme staff of CervicalCheck for their continued hard work and commitment towards delivering a first-class service for the women of Ireland.”