A Waterford Fianna Fail TD says the HSE’s arrogant attitude will have to change.
Mary Butler says the briefing note given to Simon Harris about Vicky Phelan was an absolute insult to him as Health Minister.
Yesterday the Department of Health published the briefing note Minister Harris was given before Vicky Phelan’s court case went ahead.
Deputy Mary Butler raised the matter in the Dail: “The note received by the Minister from the HSE, which I am sure the HSE never expected to be circulated publicly, is an absolute insult to the Minister for Health.
“The note informed the Minister of the 2011 falsely reported negative screening test. The note informed the Minister that a routine screening in 2014 detected high grade abnormalities and that the patient was diagnosed with cervical cancer in July 2014. Why did the note not inform the Minister that neither Vicky Phelan nor her doctor were told of this diagnosis until 2016? The note to the Minister told him certain specifics but it left out the fundamental issues. The note never alluded to the other 207 cases that had emerged.
“I am stunned by this note. What is not included in the note is as important as what was included. The note then had the audacity to suggest a quote for the Minister of Health about Vicky Phelan who has a terminal illness.
“The quote suggested by the HSE for use by the Minister was: ‘I acknowledge the severe distress that this issue has caused to the patient involved, and to her family.’ This is cold comfort to Vicky Phelan, to her husband, to her two children and to her extended family.
“This cold culture of secrecy and the arrogant and unfeeling attitude in the HSE will have to change. It is absolutely sickening that Vicky Phelan was dragged through the courts because of the HSE’s inadequacies.”