Last September, Government accepted all 50 of the recommendations that were set out in Dr Scally’s Final Report into CervicalCheck and an implementation plan was approved by Government on 11 December 2018. The implementation plan is available at the following link: https://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/ScopingInquiryImplementationRevisedMasterplanMay-2019FinalSubmitted.pdf. Work is ongoing in the Department of Health, the HSE and the National Cancer Registry of Ireland on the range of actions within the Plan.
Dr Scally carried out a review of the implementation plan at the request of the Minister, and affirmed that the Implementation Plan is a comprehensive response to his report and that considers significant effort and resources are being committed to addressing the problems he identified.
Dr Scally also acknowledged in his Supplementary Report (published on 11 June 2019) that substantial and important progress has been made in implementing his recommendations to date. A progress report against the Implementation Plan for Quarter 1 2019 is published on the Department of Health website and is available at the following link:
It shows that, as of the end of Q1 2019, there were 161 actions arising from the 56 recommendations. 48 of these actions were completed and 82 actions were in progress. Some key areas of progress to date include:
- The HSE Board has now been established following the passage of the Bill and the first meeting of the Board, chaired by Mr Ciaran Devane, took place on 28 June;
- The Chair of the National Screening Committee has been appointed and it is intended that the inaugural meeting of the Committee will be held in Q3. The Committee will be an expert advisory committee responsible for considering population screening programmes in Ireland against internationally accepted criteria;
- Following the publication of the Crowe Horwath Report on the Role, Training and Career Structures of Public Health Physicians in Ireland in December, an Implementation Oversight Group has been established to oversee the implementation of a new model of public health medicine;
- I have approved the terms of reference and proposed membership for the new Independent Patient Safety Council. A process is underway to appoint the chair and hold the first meeting of the Council;
- The HSE published a revised interim open disclosure policy in June, pending a more detailed review, which will follow the outcome of the work to be undertaken by the new Independent Patient Safety Council;
- Expert groups have been established within National Screening Service to review clinical audit processes for interval cancers across all screening programmes;
- A new Quality Safety & Risk Committee with an independent chairperson was established in the National Screening Service in October 2018 and a Quality, Safety & Risk Manager has been appointed to NSS;
- A new Clinical Director for the CervicalCheck Programme has been appointed in addition to a new National Laboratory Quality Assurance Lead. A Director of Public Health for the NSS has also been appointed;
- The Director of Public Health in the NSS is establishing a quality improvement project across all programmes in order to adopt a formal quality assurance risk management approach.
The Supplementary Report makes two further recommendations, which have been accepted. Actions to implement these recommendations will be incorporated into the existing Implementation Plan for all of the Scoping Inquiry recommendations.