Fianna Fail Deputy Jackie Cahill
Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill has called for a roadmap outlining a timeframe for the return of cancer screening programmes. The government has outlined a timeline for the reopening of businesses, but there is no indication from the Health Minister or HSE officials as to when these essential screening services can resume.
Deputy Cahill explained, “We had some very worrying figures released earlier this month in relation to BreastCheck and CervicalCheck, with no mammograms being carried out in April, and a 96% decrease in the number of samples sent to CervicalCheck labs in the same month being reported. If this were to continue for any prolonged period of time, hundreds of thousands of tests would be delayed.
“The decision to suspend these services was the correct one, and is based on the public health advice to ensure that people using the services as well as the healthcare workers are not put at risk. However, now that sections of our society are beginning to reopen again, and the fact that the capacity demands on our health service are manageable, I believe we need to see these essential programmes back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so," he said.
“There also needs to be an effective catch-up programme established so that the delays can be reduced insofar as is possible."
“We know that screening saves lives and is an important element in our health services. The lack of a timeline from the HSE is worrying and I am calling on the Health Minister to ensure that screening services are prioritised once the public health advice sanctions their resumption," he added.