Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly TD, has told Minister for Health Simon Harris to come clean and reveal the true extent of the latest CervicalCheck backlog.
Deputy Donnelly was commenting after the Health Minister broke his promise to supply up-to-date figures for the number of women still waiting for their smear tests to be read.
He explained, “It’s been almost two weeks since Minister Harris stood up publicly on the floor of the Dáil during a debate on the matter and agreed to handover the current waiting list figures. He went so far as to say he would try to have them in writing that very day, if not during the course of the debate itself.
“Yet here we are nearly a fortnight later and there’s no sign of the figures. My office has sent multiple emails and made multiple phone calls asking the Minister to stay true to his word, but all to no avail. At this point we’re left with no option but to ask if the Minister is hiding something. We must assume the backlog has increased so much that the Minister is ashamed to reveal it.
“I can understand why the Minister would be embarrassed. It was his disastrous offer of a free smear test, against clinical advice, that led to the backlog of unread tests in the first place. The data that Simon Harris himself brought to the Dáil recently stated that a backlog of an incredible 80,000 smears had built by the end of February this year. Three months later we dread to think how high that number could be,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.