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12 May 2018, 10:45 | Melissa Porter
Tony O’Brien could face a motion of no confidence in the Dáil over the smear test controversyNIALL CARSON PA
His comments come after the resignation of the director general of Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE), Tony O'Brien.
Speaking at the launch of the National Doctors Together For Yes summit in Dublin, Minister Harris said long smear test waiting lists are not acceptable.
Three HSE memos from 2016 that were seen by O'Brien were discussed at the Committee meeting, memos which the Department of Health claims were not seen by any Health ministers.
"The issue has a long way to run yet but the absolute priority has to be looking after the women who find themselves in a devastating situation with a cancer diagnosis and indeed those who have been bereaved as well", he said.
The lower detection rate in the USA laboratory was brought to the attention of the Republic of Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) but appears not to have been acted upon.
"I would like to express my thanks to Tony O'Brien for his many years of dedicated public service", he said.
Mr O'Brien was due to leave his role in August and during yesterday's Oireachtas Health Committee, he rejected calls from Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly to step down.
It emerged this month that an internal audit had found potential errors in the smear tests of 209 women but those findings weren't shared with the patients, prompting a wave of public anger.
He said he had not been in a position to hear the woman's interview.
Mr. O'Brien said that he has made his decision in order to avoid any further impact to the delivery of health and social care services, and in particular the cancer screening services that have become the focus of intense political debate in recent days.
He said outsourcing and quality assurance will form part of the Scally inquiry into the Cervical Check scandal.
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