Fianna Fáil by-election candidate, Deirdre Conroy, has said that delays in processing smear test results must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

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.

The Dublin Bay South by-election candidate commented, “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.

“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.”