Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly has called for the immediate reopening of national screening services.

His calls come as the Minister for Health confirmed to him that screening services will report on their re-start plans in the coming days. Deputy Donnelly said that it must happen sooner rather than later given the time sensitivity and seriousness of the issue.

He explained, “Cancer screening services have been closed for the past three months. For every day they remain closed 3,000 women and men are not being screened.

“That means approximately 170,000 screenings; 70,000 CervicalCheck, 40,000 BreastCheck and 60,000 BowelScreen, screening services that should have happened, haven’t.

“At the beginning of this outbreak they had to be closed temporarily, that is not disputed but many doctors believe they have been closed for too long and despite clinicians saying they are ready, willing and able to re-start there has been no date provided by the HSE.

“In spelling out the madness of it one GP told me it was alarming and extremely concerning that we have a tentative date for opening of hairdressers and pubs but not for cancer screening.

“GPs are ready. The labs are ready. The consultants are ready. The operating theatres are ready – but nothing’s happened yet,” he concluded.