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

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

TONY O'BRIEN, Director General of the Health Service Executive, has announced he is to step down from his role amid the fallout from the cervical smear controversy.

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

CervicalCheck, the HSE’s national cervical screening programme, revealed earlier this month that an audit showed 208 women diagnosed with cancer should have received earlier intervention.

Seventeen of the women have died.

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 said, notwithstanding the clear communication failures surrounding the CervicalCheck Audits, he is confident that the Scally Review will demonstrate the quality and value of the CervicalCheck Programme once it is complete.

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.