The Health Service Executive (HSE) has confirmed that less than 20% of people who received letters of invitation from CervicalCheck since the recommencement of screening in July have opted to have a test.
CervicalCheck began a phased and incremental approach to the recommencement in July after a three month pause in screening due to Covid-19.
The Echo can reveal that the programme had issued 162,708 invitation letters from July 6 to the end of October.
Less than 20% of people who have received letters of invitation from CervicalCheck since July 6 have opted to have a test.
A spokesperson for the HSE said that CervicalCheck will have issued an invitation letter to every eligible person who is due a test in 2020, by December.
The spokesperson said that the National Screening Service (NSS) is working to screen as many people as possible within the constraints of the current healthcare environment and people are being urged to attend for screening following receipt of an invitation letter so that their test results can be returned in a timely manner and any follow-up procedures scheduled.
“For CervicalCheck, we ask that all people who have received a screening invitation book their test without delay. People can make an appointment with any GP practice registered with CervicalCheck.
“We continue to urge all people to be aware of the symptoms of the disease for which they are being screened, and not to wait for screening but to contact their GP if they have any concerns.
“Precautions are in place to protect both patients and staff, such as social distancing and the wearing of PPE. Participants can also travel for screening appointments in another county under current Covid-19 restrictions,” the spokesperson said.
Clinical Director of CervicalCheck, Dr Nóirín Russell, encouraged women who receive their invitation for their screening test to book in with their GP.
“Women with symptoms should not wait for screening and should make an appointment urgently with their GP,” she said.
An eligible CervicalCheck client is defined as anyone aged between 25 to 65 years, resident in Ireland, and registered with the programme.