Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has said the supplementary recommendations outlined by Dr. Gabriel Scally in respect to the CervicalCheck Screening Programme must be implemented without delay.
He explained, “At the outset I am relieved that the laboratories subcontracted to check Irish smear tests were operating at acceptable standards in their country of operation. Nevertheless, at the beginning of his inquiry, Dr Scally was informed that the number of labs involved in CervicalCheck work was six. That later rose to 11 and finally to 16. For such basic information to be so inaccessible is astonishing.
“Central to this report is the fact that the National Screening Service (NSS) were not even aware of where smear tests were being sent to be screened. There was a clear breakdown in communications between the labs and the HSE in respect to outsourcing. In fact, a breakdown in communications has marred this entire process since the scandal first broke.
“Everything that can be done, must be done to ensure that women have confidence in the cervical check programme and that they engage with it. One reasonable and implementable solution is that every woman knows exactly where their smear test is being screened.
“As well as that, every single smear should be screened in a lab which complies with a quality assurance process developed and operated by CervicalCheck. This second recommendation of Dr. Scally would ensure that that the quality assurance system would be in place irrespective of the physical location of laboratories.
“It is within the gift of the Department of Health to ensure CevicalCheck has the required expertise and resources to make these recommendations. It also must ensure the accelerated rollout of the HPV test which has been delayed for too long, and that the ex-gratia payment, recommended by Dr. Scally last year is finalised.
“Only when these measures are implemented can we expect to see a return to confidence in the system”, he concluded.