Vicky Phelan has become the face of the Cervical Check scandal

Vicky Phelan has become the face of the Cervical Check scandalPic @PhelanVicky

Limerick woman, Vicky Phelan, who has been campaigning on Ireland’s Cervical Check scandal has announced she is to take a step back from the issue.

In a series of tweets she explained she has received criticism for ‘bringing down the cervical check programme. She also revealed that there has been a ‘disturbing lack of empathy’ towards women affected and their families.

Phelan took a case against the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the American laboratory that carried out cervical screening tests after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer following a negative smear test result. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 but only told of the false negative in the smear test in late 2017.

Since winning her case in April, Phelan has been one of the most public faces of the scandal which continues to grow. A HSE audit revealed that more than 200 women may have received inaccurate smear tests results and the scandal continues to dominate headlines and political debate.

Phelan was clearly angry and upset at the accusations - perhaps all the more so as she had made her feelings abut Cervical Check known before. When the story broke in back in May, Phelan spoke on RTE’s Prime Time. She was very clear that she wanted women to continue going for regular smear tests, saying.

"I do think the cervical screening programme – not the one we have at the moment, it’s not fit for purpose – but I do think cervical screening is absolutely essential for women. I do not want to see more numbers of women developing invasive cervical cancer…"

Her tweets were met with a huge amount of support from many quarters and with good reason. As she said herself: 

Really, who could disagree with that?

Read: 

What Vicky Phelan Thinks You Should Do About Your Cervical Check