'Galling' that women must seek private testing over CervicalCheck delays, TD says

'Galling' that women must seek private testing over CervicalCheck delays, TD says
John Brassil.

End the “ridiculous situation” where patients tested privately are denied treatment publicly, Fianna Fáil's John Brassil has told Health Minister, Simon Harris.

Kerry mother of two, Claire Healy, was referred to a public clinic for a colposcopy by her doctor after being tested privately but the service was not available to her.

Mr Brassil said Ms Healy had the smear test carried out privately because she had a previous inconclusive smear test and could not afford to wait months for the results.

Ms Healy, who is originally from Cork but now lives in Kenmare with her young family said she felt she was taking responsibility for her health when she paid the extra money.

Mr Brassil said it was "galling" that women were being forced to seek private testing because of the delays in the CervicalCheck screening service that stemmed from the minister's decision to offer free out of cycle repeat smears.

To add insult to injury, the advice Claire has been given involves going back into the public system; having the test redone; waiting months for results and then a further three to four months to have a colposcopy – a completely nonsensical arrangement.

Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on primary care said a common-sense approach was needed. “I am calling on Minister Harris to speak with Claire, hear her story for himself and to address this ridiculous situation.”

Ms Healy considered going to a private gynaecologist offering colposcopy services but the few she found were expensive, far from home and had long waiting lists.

Mr Brassil said Ms Healy's case highlighted the public/private treatment gulf that the Government had allowed to open up in Ireland.

“People are essentially being told that if they are worried about their health they better be prepared to languish on a waiting list or pay for treatment that they possibly cannot afford – there is no in-between.”

The HSE said there was significant pressure on the 15 public clinics providing colposcopy services for CervicalCheck because of unprecedented demand for cervical screening last year. It said it cannot comment on individual cases.

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