Thursday 17 October 2019

Government urged to pay women forced to fork out for CervicalCheck reviews

Catherine Murphy TD. Photo: Tom Burke
Catherine Murphy TD. Photo: Tom Burke
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Women caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal are having to pay up to €2,500 to have their slides independently assessed to determine if they were originally misread due to negligence, the Dáil has heard.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy raised the issue and called on the Government to give the women promised ex-gratia payments.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a memo on the payments would be brought to Cabinet in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, a study suggests that cervical cancer could be eliminated as a public health problem in most countries by the end of the century.

It is thanks to rapid expansion of existing interventions, according to a report in the 'Lancet Oncology' journal.

The assessments, which include Ireland, are the first of their kind on a global scale.

They indicate that combining a high uptake of the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) and high HPV-based cervical screening rates in all countries from 2020 onwards could prevent up to 13.4 million cases of cervical cancer within 50 years.

Around 3,004 cases of the cancer could be averted in Ireland with a 70pc uptake of the HPV vaccine and HPV testing in cervical screening in the next 50 years.

Teenage girls in Ireland have been offered the HPV vaccine for a number a years, and it will be extended to boys next autumn.

It is also planned to introduce HPV testing into cervical screening.

The study, led by the Cancer Council New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, showed the average rate of annual cases across all countries could fall to less than four cases per 100,000 women by the end of the century.

This is a potential threshold for considering cervical cancer to be eliminated as a major public health problem.

Without expanding prevention programmes, however, the study predicts 44.4 million cases in 50 years.

Irish Independent

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