"100% of Cervical Check Slides Being Sent To Foreign Laboratories Despite MacCraith Report Recommendations" - Tóibín
The Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has criticised the government after it was confirmed that 100% of Cervical Check slides processed this year have been sent abroad for examination.
Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín said:
"We're all familiar with the many broken promises and mistakes made when it comes to Cervical Check. Initially the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar promised that no woman would be forced to go through the courts to get justice, and yet we're seeing women being dragged through the courts nearly monthly in newspaper headlines. The offering of free smear tests to women in the aftermath of the scandal, by Simon Harris, was a disaster and overwhelmed the system. In light of the delays caused by this decision, and subsequent delays due to IT issues at Quest Diagnostics, which were exposed by one of the women effected - Sharon Butler Hughes, Professor Brian MacCraith completed the 'MacCraith Rapid Review Report' into the situation".
Deputy Tóibín continued: "One of the key recommendations of the MacCraith report was to accelerate progress towards a new National Screening Laboratory in Ireland, so as to reduce our high dependency on foreign laboratories. Despite this 2019 recommendation, we still don't have our new lab up and running, and we're now, it seems, totally dependent on foreign labs. Data secured by Aontú shows that 100% of Cervical Check samples are now being processed abroad. This simply isn't good enough".
"The women of Ireland deserve a system they can rely on, they need confidence that the samples they provided are being processed efficiently and reliably. The current image of samples being flown to the USA in the belly of an airplane does not inspire such confidence. The closure of the screening service during the pandemic may also yet prove a fatal decision. We in Aontú are calling on the government to launch a public information campaign around Cervical Check. The results of smear tests are not 100% reliable, and I have a great fear that there are women currently experiencing symptoms of Cervical Cancer who are not thinking much of it because they've recently had a clear test. It is vital that any woman who experiences symptoms presents to a GP - regardless of whether or not she's had a recent clear smear test", concluded Tóibín,