THE CervicalCheck programme operated at 14% above target last year, with over 300,000 tests expected to have been completed, according to Fine Gael spokesperson on health, Colm Burke.
The Cork North Central TD said he was pleased to receive assurance from CervicalCheck that it is up to date with invitations to eligible women for screening, despite the restrictions placed on its operations due to Covid-19 from April to June of 2020.
Mr Burke said: “Figures provided to me show that 206,315 women had one or more cervical tests in a primary care setting in 2019. The number was 143,334 in 2020 and 259,529 up to 30 September, 2021.
“The numbers reflect the reduced number of people tested in 2020, arising from a pause in screening that year due to Covid. It also shows the higher level of screening in 2021 when the programme operated at around 14% above expectations.
“While figures still have to be confirmed, the HSE said it is likely that over 300,000 tests were carried out, outperforming its target of 280,000 for 2021,” he said.
Deputy Burke said that in 2022, the National Screening Service will implement a targeted information campaign that aims to increase uptake among women and people with a cervix aged 50 and above, as well as those living in counties where uptake is lowest.
It comes as the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly asked Dr Gabriel Scally to conduct a final progress review of the implementation of the recommendations of his Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck screening programme.
Dr Scally has agreed it is now timely to conduct a final progress review and is commencing the work this month.
Mr Donnelly said that “significant progress” has been made in implementing Dr Scally’s recommendations since his last progress review report in April 2020 and that just six of the 170 actions arising now remain to be completed, which are all in progress.
“I believe it is now timely and feasible to proceed with a final progress review, and Dr Scally has confirmed his availability to commence this work in January 2022,” he said.