Sunday 23 September 2018

Offer of extra tests is extended by CervicalCheck

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Women who want to avail of additional smear tests, outside their normal schedule, are to be offered free screening until the end of the year.

GPs have been told the scheme, introduced in the wake of major concerns arising from the CervicalCheck scandal, will be in place until the end of December.

It was introduced in May when concerns were at their height and many women wanted reassurance.

Thousands have sought the extra tests amid worries about the accuracy of results.

This followed revelations that 221 women who received an inaccurate reading went on to develop cervical cancer.

Many others have paid around €85 for a test privately and chose the laboratory they want it sent to - but this cost is not being reimbursed.

The confirmation of the extension of the extra tests scheme was given to the National Association of General Practitioners.

It highlights the ongoing fall in trust among many women in CervicalCheck.

Meanwhile, the dispute over the payment of retrospective expenses for outgoings related to illness incurred by victims of CervicalCheck remains to be resolved.

The cut off date is May 11.

Health Minister Simon Harris said that as of July 6 he was advised by the HSE that liaison officers have held 157 face-to-face meetings with women and families to discuss their needs.

"To date, 445 new medical cards have been issued in relation to this scheme and amendments have been made to the terms of existing cards in 87 cases to re-categorise these as medical cards under the CervicalCheck support package," he said in response to Social Democat TD Róisín Shortall.

"A number of individuals are availing of counselling through either the primary care counselling service or private counselling for which they will be reimbursed, and arrangements are in place to reimburse women and families for costs such as travel and childcare.

"A range of other health supports are being provided including in response to requests for physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dental, ophthalmic and nursing services among others.

"This is client-driven process and requests for supports will differ from individual to individual.

"It is important to note that every individual's circumstances is unique to them and the HSE has taken care to respect the wishes of the women and their families," he added.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News