Smith reiterates call for national cervical cancer screening laboratory marking Cervical Cancer Awareness month
Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith criticised the government over the lack of progress made to develop a national cervical screening laboratory in Ireland.
Marking the end of Cervical Cancer Awareness month, Deputy Smith said Government must do more to ensure the women of Ireland have faith in the system.
Deputy Smith said:
“January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month and it is important that Government commits to doubling down on providing the women of Ireland with the best screening service possible.
“We know about the importance of regular smear tests through the campaigning of the late Vicky Phelan and many other women impacted by the CervicalCheck scandal.
“Unfortunately almost every family in the country has been affected by cancer, but cervical cancer can be identified early by a smear test. The reality is that screening saves lives which is why smear testing is so crucial.
“However, there are lessons still to be learned from the CervicalCheck scandal that goes to the heart of a paternalistic and neglectful approach to women’s health. Labour is calling for the full implementation of the recommendations of the comprehensive Scally report and for funding for this to be immediately ring-fenced. A national cervical cancer screening laboratory must be a key focus of this.
“As we seek to open a national cervical screening laboratory, I am acutely aware of the shortage of expert lab workers due to poor pay and conditions and the history of outsourcing testing in Ireland. There are more vacancies in laboratories than there are graduates to fill them and this has been the case for some time. It doesn’t take a lot to realise that there will be a breaking point.
“We need to address pay parity as a matter of urgency to hold onto our recent graduates. We need to see real career progression and opportunities to retain our bright and hardworking scientists. These scientists are fundamental to every area of healthcare from diagnosis of infection, cross-matching blood transfusions and cancer diagnosis.
“The national CervicalCheck screening programme for all women can achieve early detection and save women’s lives. Complacency could be the enemy as cervical cancer can be a major health risk for women at any stage of their lives – so it’s important to get checked.”