Monday 22 July 2019

'Lengthy delay' in screening results 'a concern'


10-week wait: Dr Shirley McQuade of Well Woman Centre
10-week wait: Dr Shirley McQuade of Well Woman Centre
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The Dublin Well Woman Centre, which had a 31pc rise in women coming for cervical screening since the CervicalCheck scandal in May, said it is concerned the results of some tests carried out in November have still not come back.

They are among a national backlog of test results that was sparked by the surge in women seeking free screening.

All of the testing for the Well Woman Centre has been carried out in the Coombe Hospital laboratory in Dublin since 2014.

Medical director Dr Shirley McQuade said: "Since the start of 2014, all of our smear tests have been sent to the Coombe laboratory. We greatly value the importance of having smears analysed in Ireland; it's easier for us to communicate with the laboratory, and the turn-around time had always been quick.

"Before the crisis of confidence in the system, we were getting results back from the lab in about four weeks. However, since last May, the delay has been running at about 10 weeks.

"We are concerned this lengthy delay is still a feature of the service. Even now, we have not received results from smears taken in early November. The delay in analysis increases the sense of worry many women can feel about their smear test."

Regular cervical smear tests are still the best way to prevent cervical cancer, says the Well Woman Centre.

Chief executive Alison Begas said that in May, when the scandal broke, the centre conducted 1,188 smear tests, compared to 563 for the same month in 2017 - a 111pc increase. Between May and December 2018, there was a 31pc rise. "Some were women who had not had a smear test in a while; others may have received a invitation letter from CervicalCheck and put it on the 'long finger'," she said.

Irish Independent

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