Key timelines on cervical cancer prevention must be met

22 January 2019

Labour Party health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD has said that this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week the Minister for Health must commit to setting out timelines on four key issues when it comes to cervical cancer. 

Deputy Kelly said:

“While there has been much scandal around CervicalCheck this year, it is still imperative for women to ensure that their smears are up to date. We all know that there has been a back log in when it comes to getting results of smear tests which can put a lot of unnecessary stress on women. This backlog can also cause delays for women who need their CervicalCheck results in order to get other medical procedures. The Minister for Health needs to direct CervicalCheck to ensure that staffing levels are sufficient to analyse smears. 

“The Minister committed to the introduction of HPV testing for cervical cancer in July 2018. HIQA recommended that HPV testing should be introduced as the primary cervical screening method back in May 2017 so much of the preparatory research in how this scheme could work in the context of the Irish health service has already been carried out. The evidence shows that HPV testing has been a success in Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands and if we are serious about eradicating cervical cancer here in Ireland then a timeline for its introduction here is critical.

“Last year we real momentum garner behind the idea that boys should also receive the HPV vaccine when they’re 13 years of age. The Dáil passed a motion brought forward by myself and my Labour Party colleagues calling on boys to get the vaccine and late last year HIQA recommended that boys get the vaccine. I will be asking the Minister for Health to confirm if boys will receive the vaccine at the same time as girls this September. 

“One of the most important timelines that the Minister for Health can set out in the coming weeks is when a tribunal process will be set up to deal with issues around cervical check. We cannot have sick women bringing cases through the courts months after the announcement that a tribunal is to be established. We have yet to see any legislation to put this process in to train. This legislation cannot and should not be put on the back burner women’s when so many women’s lives are at stake.

“Let us not forget the very public commitments that the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health have given these women and their families.”

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