Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (121, 122)

Finian McGrath

Question:

253 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if the full national cervical cancer screening programme will be implemented without delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25039/04]

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Brian O'Shea

Question:

309 Mr. O’Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her proposals to extend cervical screening nationwide; the timescale involved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25491/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 253 and 309 together.

A pilot cervical screening programme commenced in October 2000 and is available to eligible women resident in Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary. Under the programme, cervical screening is being offered free of charge to 74,000 women in the 25 to 60 age group at five year intervals.

The Health Board Executive commissioned an international expert in cervical screening to examine the feasibility and implications of a national roll out of a cervical screening programme. The examination included an evaluation of the pilot programme, quality assurance, laboratory capacity and organisation and the establishment of national governance arrangements. The expert's report was submitted on the 12 October 2004 and is now being considered by my Department.