Delays in processing smear test results must be addressed - Smyth

Delays in processing smear test results must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

The call is being made by Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan, Monaghan and North Meath, Niamh Smyth.

All three national cancer screening programmes (BreastCheck, CervicalCheck, BowelScreen) are currently operating, albeit at a reduced capacity due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions and the recent cyber-attack.

“I appreciate that as cervical screening is carried out by GPs and in community clinics. COVID-19 placed significant strain on these clinics, which meant that some were not able to offer screening appointments for a time or were operating at a reduced capacity.

“From February of this year onwards, the situation significantly improved and provisional data shows a significant increase in screening with, in excess of 30,000 samples taken in March 2021. However, the impact of the recent cyber-attack means there are changes and some delays in getting results back," she said.

“We simply cannot have a situation whereby there are women across the country seeking repeat smears due to expired samples who may possibly be at risk of a delayed diagnosis. Adequate resources must be put in place to ensure that results and treatment are provided in a timely manner,” concluded Deputy Smyth.