TD calls for free follow-up smear test results to be issued immediately

TD calls for free follow-up smear test results to be issued immediately
Lisa Chambers

A Fianna Fáil TD is demanding that women concerned they are victims of the cervical cancer tests scandal get their free follow-up smear test results immediately - saying she has been waiting four months for hers.

Party Brexit spokeswoman, Lisa Chambers, hit out at the repeated delays as it emerged that months after Government promises of clarity, thousands of women are still waiting for peace of mind linked to their cervical cancer re-tests.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland programme after it emerged that women are waiting an average of 20 weeks to be given results from smear test follow-ups from the HSE, Ms Chambers criticised the ongoing delays as unacceptable.

While saying Health Minister Simon Harris was right to ensure free smear tests were made available in the aftermath of the cervical cancer tests scandal revelations, Ms Chambers said the lengthy waits are adding more stress to women and must be addressed.

"I am one of those many thousands of women who are waiting," Ms Chambers said.

"I am three or four months now where I have been questioning the Minister on this.

"The response I got back this week was the very first time that the HSE and the Minister have acknowledged that we need to get additional resources and look at additional staff.

Here we are four, five months on and we have a considerable backlog that will take months and months to clear.

Criticising the lack of "peace of mind", Ms Chambers said she and other women were given a "promise" by Mr Harris that clarity would be given, but said the service "hasn't delivered what it was supposed to do".

Mr Harris has previously said he wants to ensure that all women who sought free smear test follow-up checks receive their results as soon as possible, after similar concerns were raised at the Dáil public accounts committee by Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy.

To date, 20 of the 221 women known to have received incorrect cervical cancer test results have died, while the HSE says it does not have figures for how many others have been given a terminal diagnosis.

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