Fine Gael Meath East TD and member of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) encourages all Symphysiotomy victims to consider applying to the redress scheme announced today for women who underwent a surgical symphysiotomy. Former High Court Judge Maureen Harding Clark has been appointed as an independent assessor to oversee the implementation of the scheme.
Deputy Doherty is a long-time advocate of the women involved and has been urging the Government for many years to bring closure to the issue.
“I welcome today’s announcement which aims to help women whose lives have been permanently affected by symphysiotomy. I have been working closely with these women for some time, particularly the Patient Focus and Survivors of Symphysiotomy Limited.
“I would encourage all the women affected, including those who are currently proposing legal action, to look at the terms and conditions of the redress scheme and consider applying to the scheme. I would appeal to these women to look at their options and not rule anything in or out.
“Last July the Government approved the establishment of a scheme, amounting to approximately €34 million. Participants will receive awards at three levels of €50,000, €100,000 and €150,000. It is designed to be simple and straightforward and aims to minimise the stress for all the women concerned.
“This is another important milestone for those affected and the announcement of the scheme will hopefully be another step towards closure for these women, a lot of whom are over 75 years old.
‘Survivors of symphisiotomy have had their lives ruined by a barbaric procedure that had more in common with the Middle Ages than modern medicine. The Government understands what they have gone through, condemning the practice of symphysiotomies and describing them as ‘indefensible and wrong’.
“Judge Clark’s role will be to determine the appropriate level of award for each individual case. Women may opt out of the scheme at any stage if they wish to pursue an action through the courts instead, up to the time of accepting their award. No one will have to waive their right to proceed with a court cases as a pre-condition of applying to the scheme.
“Payments for the small number of women who have had a pubiotomy will be included. The Payment Scheme will start next Monday, November 10th and further details are being advertised.”