Updated: 15/05/18 : 06:33:00
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Area Rep calls for quick answers to restore confidence in Cervical Screening Programme

Thomas Walsh, Fine Gael Local Area Representative has called for answers to be provided quickly in relation to the failures of our National Cervical Screening Programme and confidence restored in the system.

ďAt the weekend I attended the humanitarian protest where we walked from O'Connell Street to Sligo City Hall in support of those affected by the failure of Cervical Screening Programme and its management," Walsh stated.

"Those who attended (men, women and children) were visibly angry and rightfully so. Women now awaiting test results live in fear and those who received positive results are concerned with the process and the accuracy.

"I believe all those responsible for these failures in the programme which have accidently come to light should be held to account. There isnít any excuse for the incompetent, irresponsible judgements and decisions that were made during this process.

"We need to know who knew what, when and who made those decisions to not inform women who had a false negative smear.

"However along with this we must also rebuild confidence in the screening programme which, along with the HPV vaccine, is key to our efforts to prevent cervical cancer test. The invasive cervical cancer rate in Ireland is one of the highest in Western Europe and this Screening Programme has the potential to reduce current incidence rates from cervical cancer among women by up to 80%.
I welcome that fact a scoping inquiry led Dr Gabriel Scally into all the issues related to Cervical Check, is already underway."

Dr Scally has already been in contact with people affected and will report back to the Minister for Health by the end of next month setting out his findings.

The inquiry will independently establish the facts including details of the non-disclosure to patients relating to Cervical Check clinical audits and the management and level of knowledge of various parties including, the HSE and the Department of Health. It will also examine the tendering, contracting, operation etc. of the labs contracted by Cervical Check.

Separate to the scoping inquiry, there will also be an International Clinical Expert Review Panel led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the British Association of Colposcopists and Cervical Pathologists. This will review the results of screening tests of all women who have developed cervical cancer who participated in the screening programme since it was established in 2008.

Information about the Cervical Check audit, and advice for anyone concerned can be accessed at www.cervicalcheck.ie

"I urge all women who are concerned to contact their GP and the cost of the consultation and a new smear test will be covered by the state,Ē concluded Walsh.