Butler calls for clarity on cancer screening recommencement

Published on: 18 May 2020

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Older People and Health Promotion and TD for Waterford Mary Butler says cancer screening services need to recommence as early as possible to prevent a surge in delayed diagnoses in the coming months.

She made the call after new figures were published, which showed that no mammograms were carried out in the month of April and there was a 96% decrease in the number of samples sent to Cervical Check labs at that time.

“The restoration of Breast Check and Cervical Check are vital for the health of women and a clear plan now needs to be put in place to address the backlog that has built up during the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Deputy Butler.

“Understandably these screening programmes were suspended as restrictions were put in place in hospitals and primary care centres, however the time has now come to ensure that screening services are recommenced as a matter of priority.

“It appears that the number of COVID-19 cases is decreasing steadily , and while the situation needs to be vigilantly monitored to prevent any potential second surge, I believe we also need to focus on non-COVID related diseases such as cancer. The safety of patients and staff must be central in any decision to restore these services, but I think the time has come to consider their reintroduction.

“I have written to the Minister for Health asking for an update in relation to the recommencement of these vital screening services in Waterford and throughout the country, and I also intend raising it with the CEO of the HSE at the special Dáil COVID Committee tomorrow”.

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