Lixnaw woman still in dark about her smear test results, six months later

Fergus Dennehy

A Lixnaw woman has called on the HSE to improve communication and be more transparent as she revealed her anxious six month wait for her smear test results.

Rosaleen Harrington (29) is a trainee primary school teacher who, after the death of Kerry woman Emma Mhic Mhathúna in October, decided like many women in Ireland to undergo the smear test.

While she was initially given a date of January 31 to receive her results - a date that she thought would be the worst case scenario date - she said that now, almost mid-way through April, she still has no definite date as to when she will receive the results.

"You are anxious and nervous waiting for the results. I mean, there's obviously been so many cases lately so it's not like it's this illness that like only one in a million get. It's a very common thing and even if you don't have symptoms, it is going to play on your mind," said Rosaleen, speaking to  The Kerryman on Friday.

She is now calling on the HSE to communicate better in these scenarios and said that even if she had received an email or a letter telling her that there would be a delay, this would have been so much better than the silence she has been dealing with so far. 

"I emailed Simon Harris' office on March 22 and I got an email back from his secretary on the March 25 saying that they are having a look into the issues and that they'll be in contact shortly but I've heard nothing back since," Rosaleen continued.

"I was actually just on the HSE website to see if there had been any sort of an update but it said that I'm still awaiting results but I also saw that the result waiting time is now taking 33 weeks and that's gone up  from 27 weeks, two weeks ago," she said.

Since first speaking up about the issue online a few weeks ago, Rosaleen said that she has been contacted by numerous women who are in the same position as her. 

They have all been waiting months on end for their results. She said that she cannot believe that so many people are in the same situation as her and that nothing, not even something as small as a HSE acknowledgment of the delay, has been done about it.

At the time of going to print, Rosaleen said that she just doesn't know when the results will come -this month, next month or three months down the line. Such is her situation that she admits that she has been forced to take the situation into her own hands and is going to seek private treatment for another test, just for peace of mind.

"That's how it does feel, having to take this into my own hands. At this stage,  I am going to go privately because I just wouldn't trust the results at this stage, especially if they're being sent all the way to America," she said.

"I'll get the results back faster and I will be able to trust the results more at this stage because I know there have been problems with results from America as well."