Cervical cancer patient and campaigner Lorraine Walsh has criticised the Department of Health for not involving patient representatives in the planning stages of the ex gratia payment scheme announced in March.
“The Department of Health did not involve us. We’re not happy,” she said.
The scheme will be open to the 221 women with cervical cancer caught up in the CervicalCheck controversy, or their next of kin in cases where they have died, who were not told of an audit that was carried out on their smear tests after their diagnosis.
There should have been earlier dialogue, Ms Walsh told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland .
“We had no input. We’re being asked to sign up to a scheme when we don’t know the details. We don’t know if it is suitable,” she said.
“This is a missed opportunity. It’s not about the money. We would’ve loved to see an apology, an acknowledgment that the State let us down.
“That would go a long way to restore trust. We’re dealing with anger, there’s a lot of anger here.”
A number of affected women have said that they were told they could be waiting up to six months to receive ex-gratia payments, which will be administered under a new €5 million scheme.
The level of payment has not yet been set, but is expected to be about €25,000 each, based on the settlement reached in a court case last year.
Many of the women received letters in recent days informing them about how they can apply for the payment.
They have been given a deadline of May 30th to send in their applications.