Tánaiste apologises for 'significant delays' after CervicalCheck scandal

Tánaiste apologises for 'significant delays' after CervicalCheck scandal

The Tánaiste has apologised to women who are now waiting up to 18 weeks for smear check results because of increased volumes in the wake of the CervicalCheck scandal.

Simon Coveney has told the Dáil that the HSE regrets that there are now "significant delays" in the screening process.

"It's not good enough and I would like to apologise to those patients affected," said Mr Coveney.

The Tánaiste was responding to questions from Sinn Féin's health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly who said a measure intended to give women peace of mind was now in fact causing further worry.

She said that back in May when the Government announced that all concerned women could get additional smear tests, GPs warned that they had not been consulted on this.

She claimed the Government had not factored in the increased volumes and the pressures this would put on the screening service.

"What was and still is a good idea has been completely mismanaged to the point that is having the reverse effect of what was the intention.

"The measure was supposed to assure women but now we have women articulating further worry and discomfort over the length of time that they are waiting for their tests.

Women were told that they would have their results in six to eight weeks but they are now waiting for up to 18 weeks because the labs can't deal with the additional volume of tests that are being sent to them

She said this was also having a knock-on effect as samples are expiring before they are looked at by the labs.

"This is creating a cyclical effect where samples are being taken and then expiring because of the increased waiting time due to the volume of tests taken and it is just being repeated again and again," she said.

"Announcements are becoming the hallmark of this Government delivery, on the other hand, is often sadly lacking," said Ms O'Reilly.

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