HSE urged to restart BreastCheck and CervicalCheck programmes amid backlog

The Health Service Executive is facing calls from those affected by delays and cancellations to restart the BreastCheck and CervicalCheck cancer screening programmes.
HSE urged to restart BreastCheck and CervicalCheck programmes amid backlog

Additional reporting: Press Association

The Health Service Executive is facing calls from those affected by delays and cancellations to restart the BreastCheck and CervicalCheck cancer screening programmes.

Both programmes, as well as the BowelScreen programme, were put on hold around the country in March, in response to the ongoing emergency surrounding the outbreak of Covid-19.

Speaking on Newstalk radio today, 22-year-old Kayleigh was recently told her mammogram was cancelled, despite finding a lump in January of this year, and outlined the lengths she had to go to in order to bring attention to the issue.

"For the entire month of January, all I did was go into that BreastCheck and cry my eyes out.

"My ma didn't even know I was crying my eyes out: I'm 22 years old, I had to go viral. On Facebook, sharing video, and coming on to this radio show, to share this.

"It's not something that a 22-year-old girl would normally have to do."

Last week, Health Minister Simon Harris said he wants to re-introduce the services' routine screenings as soon as possible, amid concern at existing backlogs, but stressed the issues in getting back up to speed.

“The fact that most public cancer screening programmes such as BreastCheck and CervicalCheck have been suspended for over ten weeks is causing a great deal of stress, particularly among women.” “Eleven thousand screens take place each month.

“One person dies of cancer every hour in this country. Some can’t be prevented but some can if they are found early enough.”

“We need a clear roadmap outlining when exactly screening will re-start, what the testing capacity will be and what the turnaround time of results will be.” Health Minister Simon Harris told the Dáil, the HSE are currently developing capacity planning for the ongoing delivery of non Covid-19 services.

“They will examine the issue of screening as part of the non-Covid healthcare plan.

“It has to be safe for patients and staff.

“We all appreciate screening involves close contact which presents problems for staff in terms of physical distancing.” He urged patients showing symptoms to take action, saying: “If you’re symptomatic today, please, please, please go and see your GP.”

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