Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Stephen Donnelly has said there needs to be a supercharging of cancer screening services as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Deputy Donnelly said that planning, resourcing and funding needs to be put in place now along with a nationwide public awareness campaign so that people are educated about and more inclined to avail of screening services.
He explained, “Last week in the Dáil I asked the Minister to deploy the full resources of the Government behind a national campaign, akin to the one being carried out at the moment in relation to COVID-19.
“Considerable resources, professionalism, talent and money have been brought to the public communications around COVID-19. There are advertisements in every newspaper, on every radio programme and on the television, and we are all out talking about it and rightly so.
“But we are staring down the barrel of a crisis in cancer treatment. Figures published today have revealed that no mammograms were carried out in the month of April, while there was a 96% decrease in the number of samples sent to CervicalCheck labs in that time.
“These figures prove that there has been a major disconnect between the public narrative that cancer care services are operating as normal and what the oncologists and, more importantly, their patients are experiencing.
“We are looking at the very real prospect of more people dying of an additional cancer rate than die from COVID-19 and the assurance Minister Harris gave me that he is looking into the possibility of a major campaign is going to need to be realised and stepped up a few gears,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.