CervicalCheck: HSE to introduce HPV screening following new deal with US laboratory

CervicalCheck: HSE to introduce HPV screening following new deal with US laboratory

Update 4.28pm:

The HSE is to focus on introducing HPV primary screening after agreeing a new deal with Quest Diagnostics to ensure the continuation of Cervical Check.

It has been agreed that Quest Diagnostics will take on new slides, while Medlab Pathologies will concentrate on reducing its backlog of 44,000 slides.

Until HPV primary screening is introduced, the CervicalCheck programme will remain in place.

The Irish Cancer Society's head of services, Donal Biggy, said the move will lead to fewer women developing cervical cancer in future:

"It's a much more accurate test than the current test which is in place, so there will be fewer false negatives and it will mean that we will have a much more robust system for detecting cervical cancer, detecting probability of cervical cancer and indeed for ensuring that much fewer women get cervical cancer in the future.

Earlier: HSE reaches agreement with US lab to process backlog of cervical smear tests

An agreement has been reached between the HSE and a US laboratory to process the backlog of smear tests in the Cervical Check screening programme.

It follows weeks of uncertainty, with slides put into storage as there were no labs to process them.

The Irish Times reports the deal with Quest Diagnostics will ensure the survival of the screening programme.

The work will be carried out at four new sites in the United States.

Professor of Health Systems at the School of Human Sciences in DCU, Anthony Staines, says finding the expertise to process the backlog has been difficult.

"It's been very difficult, because it's hard to get the capacity to do cervical cytology, and it takes a long time to train people to do this task; it's really, really hard," he said.

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