HSE chief Tony O'Brien steps down amid cervical smear scandal

HSE chief Tony O’Brien

HSE chief Tony O’Brien

In a statement this evening, the HSE said Mr O'Brien meant to step down from his position with effect from close of business on Friday.

Mr O'Brien's future was once again called into question on Wednesday as he appeared before an Oireachtas Committee on Finance.

Mr O'Brien said that he looks forward to engaging with Dr Gabriel Scally, who is heading up the scoping inquiry into the controversy, and will cooperate fully with him.

Tonight's HSE statement said Mr O'Brien made his decision in order to avoid any further impact to the delivery of health and social care services, in particular the cancer screening services.


He emphasised that he remains deeply committed to health reform in Ireland and in particular the full implementation of the Slainte Care Report.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said the move "is a necessary first step in achieving accountability".

The mother of two, 43, had just been awarded €2.5 million from the U.S. laboratory which failed to recognise high-grade cell changes in her 2011 cervical smear test.

He says he didn't know about women not being told of the audits of their smear tests - and there's no way smear testing can be infallible. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer three years later.

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