Wednesday, 6 February 2019
National Cervical Screening Programme: Statements
Deputy Joan Collins raised the issue of the legal system and how we move to a better system. We are trying to do a number of things. We are reviewing tort law in general and how we deal with clinical negligence better and this body of work is still ongoing. We are introducing an ex gratiascheme and I mentioned this earlier. I first spoke directly to the 221+ group about this last Thursday whereby for the non-disclosure piece we want to make a payment to recognise the impact of the non-disclosure on women and their families. I intend to appoint someone, probably a retired judge, to start the scheme in the coming weeks. I intend to go to Cabinet for approval for the scheme this month. It will not deal with every case or situation but I hope it will deal with quite a few cases. I hope it will provide people with financial recompense to some degree for what they experienced in terms of non-disclosure.
Another element is the Meenan report. I have answered questions on the timelines for this. I want to get it done this year. It is a huge priority and I hope we can get a general scheme to the health committee in the month of March. With regard to open disclosure, Deputy Joan Collins is right. Deputy Clare Daly described the missed opportunities in the past, as did Deputy Joan Collins. On reflection this may well be right. We need to rectify it now. It is in the patient safety Bill, which has been through pre-legislative scrutiny at the health committee.
It is currently being drafted. I intend to get it back here as quickly as possible - I do not have a definitive week now - with a view to enacting that law this year.