Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Independent Expert Panel Review into Cervical Screening: Discussion

Dr. Colm Henry:

I will add to that. All screening programmes are based on a foundation of confidence. We need a critical mass of the population to have confidence in the programmes and to partake in them. We know that despite all the events of last year, the uptake of the programme is remarkably high at 80%. We also know from some work we have done internally that the attitude of women who use the programme is positive towards the programme. There seems to be a high level of understanding of what the programme does and its limitations. It is important to us that women who have not yet entered the programme can have confidence in the programme and are not discouraged from taking part. There has been talk of reducing mortality. It is not only a question of reducing mortality but of detecting cancer or pre-cancer at an earlier stage, when intervention is far more effective and far less severe. That is a very important message for anyone watching this who may be wondering about the efficacy of the programme and what it may mean for them.