While I appreciate the need to reassure women in relation to CervicalCheck, the clinical advice from the HSE and my Department is clear that there is no evidence that the clinical and technical aspects of the programme have performed outside or below the quality guidelines set for it, or below international standards.
All laboratories contracted by CervicalCheck meet the programme’s standards and have ISO accreditation, certified by the relevant national authorities. The cervical screening programme has reduced the risk of women developing cervical cancer and there was a significant downward trend in the incidence of invasive cervical cancer between 2010 and 2015. Also, cervical cancers are being diagnosed at an earlier stage and five-year survival rates have improved.
Meanwhile, I have arranged that any woman who has had a CervicalCheck smear test, and who following consultation with her GP determines that she wishes to have a further test, may do so without charge.