Updated: 11/05/18 : 05:55:52
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MacSharry - more heads to roll in cancer shambles

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

THE CHIEF Medical Officer (CMO) in the Department of Health could be the next head to roll in the Cervical Check shambles.

Sligo TD Marc MacSharry gave the warning on the TV3 “Tonight” show hosted by Ivan Yates and Matt Cooper last night, Thursday.

Ninety minutes earlier the HSE’s Chief Executive Tony O’Brien quit his post, with effect from “close of business” today, Friday.

Fate Sealed

O’Brien’s fate was sealed by a series of three memos which emerged yesterday afternoon. See link below.

These showed full Department of Health knowledge of the emerging shambles as far back as March 2016.

The memos discussed, inter alia, the fall-out from an audit where missed diagnoses (plural) in cervical cancer screenings could become media knowledge.

Cervical Check was, the three memos revealed, preparing a media response to potential adverse headlines - ‘screening did not diagnose my cancer.’

Late last night Marc McSharry turned the spotlight on the State’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

“He may have his fingerprints on these memos,” declared the Sligo Fianna Fáil TD.

Jury Out

MacSharry was speaking on the TV3 “Tonightshow hosted by Ivan Yates and Matt Cooper.

On the same panel, junior health minister Jim Daly declined repeated queries on whether he had confidence in the CMO; “the jury is out,” conceded Daly.

The dramatic day started with Sligo TD Marc MacSharry asking the HSE boss Tony O’Brien to his face to quit.

MacSharry was speaking at the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee, at which Mr O’Brien testified and later the Chief Medical Officer.

In a terse morning exchange between both men, Mr O’Brien accused MacSharry of “scaremongering” and “hysteria.”

Both Wait

Added Mr O’Brien: "Why don't we both wait until the outcome of the expert review, and then you can reflect and I can reflect.”

Finally, Fianna Fáil said shortly before 7.30pm last night it would support a Dáil Motion of ‘No Confidence’ in the HSE boss when put forward by Sinn Féin.

The message, timed 7.28pm, from FF health spokesman Stephen Donnelly called again on the HSE boss to resign.

Two weeks ago, Dr Grainne Flannelly, Clinical Director of Cervical Check, resigned her post when the shambles was first revealed by patient Vicky Phelan.