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'Why aren't these tests being done here?' - GPs concerned at outsourcing of smear tests

The National Association of General Practitioners has expressed concern at the outsourcing of smear tests.

However, as controversy surrounding the operation of Cervical Check continues, the NAGP is urging women to continue getting tested.

The group has welcomed the Government's decision to facilitate repeat tests at no extra cost.

It follows the announcement last night by the HSE that Dr Gráinne Flannelly has stepped down from her position as the Clinical Director of CervicalCheck following the current controversy over smear test results.

She informed the HSE of her decision this evening saying she is sorry that recent events have caused distress and worry to women, and was stepping aside to allow the CervicalCheck programme to continue its important work.

The HSE confirmed the news last night, thanking Professor Flannelly for helping to introduce a programme that has saved the lives of countless women through screening and early intervention.

Today, Chairman of the NAGP, Dr Andrew Jordan, does not believe testing should be outsourced.

Dr Jordan said: "Why aren't these tests being done here? I mean we have cytologists here in Ireland, they're accredited and they work in this environment and it would be much easier to pick up the phone if there was a concern.

"These smears have been outsourced for years, I presume the reason was cost, and at the time CervicalCheck was set up there were concerns raised."