Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Department of Health
National Cervical Screening Programme
377. To ask the Minister for Health if the facility for women to attend for a cervical smear if they are concerned regarding their previous smear, if it was more than three months ago, will continue beyond the initial three-month window; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31388/18]
The clinical advice from the HSE and the Department of Health is clear that there is no evidence that the clinical and technical aspects of CervicalCheck have performed outside or below international standards or the quality guidelines set for the programme. All laboratories currently contracted by CervicalCheck meet the programme’s standards and have ISO accreditation, certified by the relevant national authorities.
The cervical screening programme has reduced the risk of women developing cervical cancer and there was a significant downward trend in the incidence of invasive cervical cancer between 2010 and 2015. Also, cervical cancers are being diagnosed at an earlier stage and five-year survival rates have improved.
However, I am conscious of the need to provide reassurance to women who may have concerns about the results of a smear test they had through the national screening service. Therefore, a woman who has previously had a CervicalCheck smear test, and who following consultation with her GP determines that she wishes to have a further test, may do so without charge. In light of the ongoing public concern and the need to ensure clarity for patients and doctors regarding the CervicalCheck screening programme, this arrangement will continue until the end of the year.