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14th September 2018 | Health

Paternalistic HSE Culture has to change

by Antoin McDermott
In light of the Scally Report findings on CervicalCheck, the Green Party today call for HSE culture to change in order to address the serious ‘whole systems failure’ described by Dr Gabriel Scally; including structural clinical governance issues, lack of oversight and an institutional attitude of paternalism towards patients.
Green Party Health spokesperson Seamus McMenamin said today ‘The paternalism “bordering on misogyny” evidenced by the Scally report has no place in modern healthcare. From symphysiotomy to restrictions on reproductive rights, the treatment of women in Irish healthcare has a long and ruinous history – CervicalCheck is simply one more example. This second-class treatment must end here. We believe that these cultural attitudes can be addressed by the reinstatement of the Women’s Health Council, open disclosure with gender-sensitive training and reimbursed patient representatives on the boards of all health organisations. Implementation of the Scally and Sláintecare recommendations are a priority, as the attitudes expressed are unlikely to be confined alone to the CervicalCheck programme.
‘Given the difficulty Scally faced in obtaining information, accountability and transparency must be to the fore in moving forward. For many of the women affected and their families a Commission of Inquiry indicates that we take what has happened to them seriously, that we want to find out what happened and hold people to account. However, the Commission of Inquiry should not prevent implementation of Scally recommendations, distract from proper oversight of other screening programmes such as HPV  and should not be used as an excuse to delay acting on these recommendations. Resources should first and foremost be placed towards implementing the recommendations of the Oireachtas Sláintecare and Scally report in order to address cultural and organisational defects before they damage other lives.