News & Media

Answers needed to maintain confidence in Cervical Check Screening Programme

19 July 2021

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Northern Ireland

With Covid-19 leading to delays in CervicalCheck screening, Labour Party leader Alan Kelly said it is essential that confidence in the programme is maintained, capacity increased to address any future delays, and full transparency provided around any further delays.

Deputy Kelly said:

“It is deeply concerning that delays in the Cervical Check screening programme due to Covid-19 has led to up to 180 women having to be retested. If samples are expiring every month, beyond the expected norm, then it’s clear there isn’t enough capacity in the system.

“A full and clear explanation is needed as to why samples that needed to be examined after the detection of HPV were delayed in any way. With a further backlog likely due to the pandemic it is really essential that capacity is expanded to prevent this happening again. If social distancing is limiting throughput then we should consider what solutions can be found to address that capacity constraint.

“This reveals the clinical implications of the backlog in screening and will cause a lot of stress and anxiety for women.

“While I welcome the measures taken to address this delay, I am concerned that once again public confidence in the screening programme will be damaged.

“Clear communication is needed with the women impacted, and measures must be taken to once again restore confidence in our screening programme.”