Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (328, 329)

Micheál Martin

Question:

328. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the status of the assessment of the capacity of laboratories here to perform cervical screening; when this assessment will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51641/18]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

329. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the additional funding to be allocated to laboratories here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51642/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 328 and 329 together.

I take it that the Deputy is referring to the on-going preparation for the move to HPV testing as the primary screening mechanism for CervicalCheck.

As the Deputy will be aware, switching to HPV testing as the primary screening mechanism will require a reconfiguration of laboratory services. While it is likely that a tendering process will be needed to meet at least some of the HPV testing requirement, the potential to use public laboratories in Ireland to carry out testing for the programme is being carefully assessed as part of the planning of this major project.

Funding to implement the switch to HPV screening has been allocated in Budget 2019, along with funding to implement the recommendations of Dr Gabriel Scally’s inquiry in to the CervicalCheck Screening Programme, illustrating the Government’s commitment to these essential projects.

I want to be clear, however, that the Report of the Scoping Inquiry into CervicalCheck, published on 12 September on the website of my Department, provides welcome reassurance on the quality management processes of all laboratories currently contracted to provide services for CervicalCheck, including the private laboratories contracted both in Ireland and America (Medlab Pathology and Quest Diagnostics, respectively) and the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin.