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Cancer Screening Targets Being Missed By The Hundreds Of Thousands - Tóibín

NB Please PQ Attached

Following on from a PQ response from the National Screening Service, Aontú Leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has raised grave concerns as Cancer Screening Targets are being missed by the hundreds of thousands.

An Teachta Tóibín:

“The suspension of non-Covid healthcare services over the past year, will have a cost in terms of increased morbidity and mortality. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to Cancer screening and Cancer treatment services. Cancer Screening services were suspended from March 2020 through to the end of October 2020. Then under the government’s new Covid-19 plans, Cancer services will not return until the end of 2021”.

“In relation to BreastCheck, the NSS told me that the ‘annual target is to reach 185,000 women in the eligible population who have had a complete mammogram. The number of women who had a complete mammogram year to date was 56,270 which is behind the target of 185,000 by 128,730.’ It is estimated that it will take an extra year to complete the current round of screenings”."

"In relation to Cervical Check, the NSS stated at the ‘end of December 2020, we had issued a first invite letter to everyone due screening in 2020 and were reporting strong uptake rates. We issued over 270,000 invites in 2020. The number of women who had one or more smear tests in a primary care setting was 143,028 which is behind the target of 255,000 by 111,972.’"

"In relation to Bowel Cancer Screenings, the NSS stated ‘Almost 50,000 people have completed a satisfactory Bowel Screen FIT test . This is behind the target of 125,000 by 75,000 participants.’ The NSS further stated it will take years to complete Cancer Screening targets”.

"The Taoiseach told me to ‘get real’ when I raised the issue with him directly in the Dáil, dismissing the issue entirely. This issue is real for me. I, like many others have had cancer and know the threat it is to your life”.

“The figures I have received from the National Screening Service show Cancer Screening Targets are being missed by the hundreds of thousands. It will take years to clear the backlog. Every screening missed and every delay is Cancer’s opportunity to further devastate lives. Every missed screening is a woman not knowing whether she has Breast Cancer. Every delay hampers the prospects of fighting against Cancer. This disastrous situation is not just as a result of Covid, but of government policy to cut critical services even when they could be facilitated.”

“These figures of course are contingent upon there being no further disruption of services as a result of government policies. Given the low numbers of people in hospital and ICU with Covid, Cancer waiting lists can no longer be justified. The government must increase investment and capacity in these services in order to radically reduce waiting lists immediately."

PQ16646.21 Deputy Peadar Tóibín

By Aontú Press | 19 April, 2021

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